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Sidney girl rated No. 1 in poles

By Staff | May 3, 2008

Kelsey Nennemar of Sidney will be riding her 10-year-old gelding, Speed, in the barrels during the Iowa High School Rodeo this weekend at the Emmet County Fairgrounds in Estherville. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

When she was barely big enough to climb on the back of a horse, Kelsey Nennemar of Sidney started riding.

And she hasn’t stopped since.

The 17-year-old began competitive rodeo at the tender age of 8 and is now ranked first in the state in poles. She’s also a stiff competitor in the barrels.

Kelsey earned her first buckle in seventh grade in the Fremont County Fair when she was 13. She’s a regular at the Fogg Arena in Mound City, Mo., and the S Bar S in Beatrice, Neb. She competed in the wrangler division in junior and high and as first-ranked in pole bending in the state she is currently qualified for the national high-school rodeo.

“It’s been in my family for generations,” said Nennemar of the family rodeo tradition. Her parents have a cattle operation near Sidney. That gives her plenty of room to practice. She rides a 10-year-old gelding, Speed, in the barrels and a 14-year-old gelding, Casey, in the poles.

So what’s the hardest part of rodeo?

“Competing against your best friends,” Kelsey said. “Sometimes it can get tense if you don’t want it to.”

This weekend, Kelsey is one of many high-school rodeo athletes competing at the Emmet County Fairgrounds in Estherville. Rodeo time is 1 p.m. Saturday and continues 8 a.m. Sunday.