Southern Utah high school rodeo stars shine at national finals; Coronado repeats as all-around champion

All-around cowgirl champion and pole bending champion McKenna Coronado of Kanarraville poses with prizes at the conclusion of the National High School Finals Rodeo, Rock Springs, Wyo., July 20, 2019 | Photo courtesy of McKenna Coronado, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — Several Southern Utah athletes placed highly at the annual National High School Finals Rodeo. The weeklong competition staged at the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs, Wyoming, wrapped up Saturday evening.

McKenna Coronado, a recently graduated senior from Kanarraville, earned all-around cowgirl honors for the second year in a row to repeat as world champion. She earned a total of 870 points during the week’s events, while runner-up Jacqueline Nichols of Arizona finished with 820.

Coronado placed first in the pole bending event, posting the fastest times among all competitors in both Tuesday and Thursday’s performances. Riding atop her speedy horse Burben, Coronado posted respective times of 20.249 and 20.028 seconds for a cumulative time of 40.277, best among 177 competitors in the event. She followed that up with a finals time of 20.349 seconds on Saturday night, which was the fourth-fastest time of the evening. However, her aggregate time over her three runs was 60.626 seconds, a little more than a quarter of a second better than runner-up Reagan Davis of Texas, whose time total was 60.897.

In girls cutting, Coronado was unable to successfully defend her national title in that event. Although she tied for eighth in her second go-round, she didn’t place highly enough to make it to Saturday’s finals.

Also winning a world championship was Macee McAllister of St. George, who took first place in barrel racing. Riding her horse Lainey, McAllister placed third in both of the go-rounds and fourth in Saturday’s finals but still ended up with the fastest aggregate time, a total of 51.937 seconds over three runs. Her second run is shown in the video below.

Additionally, Bubba Holcomb of New Harmony placed seventh overall in the nation in the bareback riding event. In his go-rounds on Wednesday, he posted scores of 70 and 64 to advance to Saturday’s finals, where he got a 76, the fourth-highest score of the evening.


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70 the first round 64 the second got the short round Saturday #nationals #itscolddownthereinnomansland #nhsra #utah

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Bubba Holcomb will join older brother Zeke Holcomb later this fall as a student at Frank Phillips College in Texas, where both brothers have rodeo scholarships.

In bull riding, Brek Sanderson of Cedar City delivered a standout performance, earning scores of 50 and 75 on his two rides for a total of 125, good enough for fourth place overall.

Also, Kash Cattoor of Hurricane finished ninth in the finals of the tie-down roping event, giving him 10th place overall. He also teamed up with partner Daxton Hill of Spanish Fork to take fifth place overall in the team roping event. That gave Cattoor a total of 885 all-around points, putting him in a tie for sixth place in the final all-around cowboy standings.

In team roping, Blake Bowler and TJ Bowler of Enterprise finished 11th overall.

Melroy Vigoren of LaVerkin placed fifth in the rifle shoot. He was one of four Utah athletes to place among the top 10 in that event. Cedar’s Curry Wilkins tied for ninth.

In trap shooting, Cedar’s Qade Adams finished fifth overall, hitting 98 of a possible 100 targets.

Competing in goat tying were Staheli Adams of Cedar and Amy Mason of Enterprise.

This year’s National High School Finals Rodeo, organized and sponsored by the National High School Rodeo Association, featured approximately 1,650 competitors from 43 states and three foreign countries (Canada, Mexico and Australia). In addition to competing for more than $250,000 in prizes from sponsors, the high school athletes were also vying for more than $375,000 worth of college scholarships.

Utah’s contingent made a strong showing as a team, racking up 10,375 total points, second only to Texas’ 12,260. Utah’s girls placed first overall among 47 teams, while the boys from the Beehive state finished second to Texas.

For complete individual and team results, click here.

Additionally, several younger Southern Utahns competed in the Rodeo Association’s national junior high school rodeo competition staged in late June in South Dakota. Ram Hughes and Roxi Hughes of Newcastle competed in the ribbon roping event, while Ram Hughes teamed with Kanden Coronado of Kanarraville in team roping, placing seventh overall. Dax Hunt of Enterprise placed fifth in chute dogging. Jessie Vigoren of LaVerkin placed eighth in the rifle shoot.

Other Southern Utahns competing in the national junior high finals rodeo included Bladen Leavitt of Gunlock in goat tying, Adi Coughlin of St. George in barrel racing and Rio Hughes of Newcastle in breakaway.

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