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Peeler places in high school rodeo national finals
Ben Peeler, serving as the header, clears the way for Cody Tieken to complete the job at hand during regional competition of the Texas High School Rodeo team roping competition.
Some young people get hands-on experience working cattle on a ranch. Others learn as they train in associations such as the Texas High School Rodeo. Either way, they can put their skills to the test in rodeo events around the country.
Ben Peeler, whose family has ties to the Floresville community, is among the high school students who proudly represented Texas in cutting on the national high school rodeo circuit. The son of Jason and Marianna Peeler is an upcoming junior at TMI in San Antonio.
His summer vacation began with state competition June 7-15 in Abilene. While representing Region 6, Ben placed third in the region’s boys cutting. His fourth-place finish at state qualified him for a chance of a lifetime, to represent Wilson County and Texas during the national cutting competition July 14-20 in Rock Springs, Wy. Approximately 100 cowboys from 42 states, four Canadian provinces, and an Australian team competed in the National High School Rodeo.
According to the National Cutting Horse Association website, the cutting competition is “one of the world’s fastest growing equine sports.” See “What is cutting?” for more about the contest.
This marks Ben’s second year to compete in cutting. He trains with James Davison of Gonzales. Ben competes on a 7-year-old mare owned by his family.
Ben’s first national cutting appearance was July 16, during Performance 4. His score of 142 was the second highest for that day.
In the first round average, Ben came in 10th.
In the Boys Cutting Performance 9 on July 18, Ben placed fourth with a score of 133. This placed Ben 21st in the second round.
In the average of the two rounds, Ben rose to eighth place with a 275, with J.D. Reed of Spearman the only other Texan scoring higher in the two-round average. To qualify for the final round, the top 20 average places of the two rounds combined advance to the finals.
In the finals July 20, Ben bettered his score with a 144, placing third in the short go (or finals).
To determine the national winner, all three scores are combined. In the boys cutting average (for three rounds), Ben finished seventh, in a three-way tie, with a score of 419.
On the state level, Ben was ranked No. 10 in the Senior Boys All Around for Region 6.
Ben accumulated points with Floresville’s Cody Tieken of Floresville for Region 6 in team roping. Ben served as the header, while Cody served as the heeler.
Cody also advanced to state competition, but in bareback riding. He was ranked third for the region.
The son of David and Becky Tieken of Floresville, the upcoming senior will soon begin a new year of high school rodeo.
Region 6 All Around cowboy Stratton Lopez of Adkins was ranked 11th for the region. He accumulated points by placing fourth in team roping with Taylor Tate of Boerne and advanced to state competition. Stratton also was ranked 15th in tiedown.
Other Region 6 cowboys include Cody Dumas of Pleasanton, who ranked sixth in the region’s team roping and competed in June in the state competition with Baron Lackey of Spring Branch.
Stockdale’s Cuatro Garza and Quest Garza accumulated points by competing in Region 6 team roping.
Also accumulating points in Region 8’s team roping were Bryan Chapa and Davis Watts, both of Jourdanton.
More Region 8 cowboys include ninth-ranking calf roper Caleb Blandford of Stockdale and 11th-place calf roper Cody Hines of Seguin.
The son of Russell and Shannon Blandford, Cody is no stranger to the rodeo circuit; he competed at state in calf roping all four years of high school. The state finals marked Caleb’s last year as a high school competitor, since he graduated from La Vernia High School this past June. He will continue his studies at Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde on a full-ride rodeo scholarship.
Not to be outdone by the boys, area girls also excelled in rodeo events. George Strait’s song, “How ’Bout Those Cowgirls” comes to mind when writing about these young ladies.
Region 6 had two cowgirls from Seguin place among the top 15 All Around honors. Codi Funderburg ranked second, while Kendra Kay Dracoulis was ranked No. 10.
Codi’s second in pole bending and girls cutting for Region 6 qualified her for state competition. She was ranked 14th in breakaway roping and 16th in barrel racing.
Kendra placed second in barrel racing and fourth in girls breakaway roping, competing in both events at state.
Abby Slagle of Floresville ranked 13th in the All Around for Region 8. She was ranked fourth in goat tying, 16th in pole bending, and 17th in breakaway roping.
The daughter of Ken and Pam Slagle, Abby attends Poth High School. This marked her first year in high school rodeo, where she competed in goat tying at state.
Abby also represented Poth High School in FFA Rodeo, placing third in goat tying. She also competed in girls breakaway and team roping.
Region 6’s Stormi Crouch of Pleasanton was ranked fourth in barrel racing, advancing to state competition. She also was ranked 11th in breakaway roping.
Region 8 cowgirls Marissa Vader of Seguin and Kody Ynfante of Marion scored points in girls team roping. Marissa was ranked seventh in breakaway roping, advancing to state in this competition.
Other area cowgirls include:
•Katy Macias of Poth, Region 6 breakaway roping and goat tying.
•Kaitlyn Eben of Seguin, Region 6 barrel racing.
•Kaylin Culpepper of Pleasanton, Region 8 goat tying.
Some of these cowboys and cowgirls also competed in the Texas Youth Rodeo Association state finals, held in late July in Gonzales. Watch for the results in an upcoming issue of the Wilson County News.
What is cutting?
Cutting is “ ... The challenge to select a single calf from the herd ... gently guide it into the center of the arena ... and then, with lightning fast starts and turns, prevent it from ducking past the horse and escaping back to the herd. ...”
Horse and rider approach the herd and move into the cattle to separate one animal without disturbing the herd.
“Once the calf is isolated near the center of the arena, the rider must loosen his rein to allow the horse freedom to demonstrate its cutting skill and real ‘cow sense.’ Controlling the calf by speed, agility, balance, and motion, the horse matches the calf move-for-move to prevent its return to the herd (the calf’s natural inclination).”
Horse and rider must complete the task in 2-1/2 minutes.
Source: National Cutting Horse Association
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