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Let’s all go to the rodeo

By Staff | May 1, 2010

Stephanie Kingston, Austin O’Brien and Leah Miller will compete this weekend in the Iowa High School Rodeo at the Emmet County Fairgrounds in Estherville. Kingston and Miller are from Lawton-Bronson High School. O’Brien,who will compete in the calf roping, team roping and steer wrestling events, is from Agency. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

The first weekend of May every year, come rain or shine, the Iowa High School Rodeo comes to Estherville for two action-packed days of barrel racing, calf roping, steer wrestling and bull riding, along with all the other traditional rodeo events.

And this year is no different.

On Friday, high-school rodeo athletes were unloading their horses and getting ready for the rodeo action that starts 9 a.m. Saturday with the cutting event.

Leah Miller, a sophomore from Lawton-Bronson, has been in rodeo for the past two years and has been riding “all my life.” Her events are poles and breakaway roping.

“My family’s always been in it and I just like it,” Miller said. “I like the atmosphere.”

Stephanie Kingston, a senior also from Lawton-Bronson, has been doing competitive rodeo for 10 years. Her events are barrels and pole bending.

So what’s the hardest thing about rodeo?

“The competition’s really tough,” Kingston said. Despite that, she’s looking forward to the challenge and plans to attend Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D., where there’s a rodeo program. After that, she’d like to give professional rodeo a shot.

For now, Kingston hopes to be one of the top four finishers in her events so she can go to nationals in Gillette, Wyo., the last two weeks in July.