3 locked in battle for boys all-around title
Colt Roshau isn't putting too much pressure on himself as he approaches the North Dakota High School Rodeo Association State Finals.
However, Roshau knows that he can't have much of a letdown if he wants to hold off Kindred's Riley Rustad and Arthur's Chase Lako in what is shaping up to be a tight chase for the boys all-around championship.
"I think it's just whoever has the best state finals and gets their head on straight," Roshau said. It's all pretty tight. We'll have to see how it plays out.
The Bismarck cowboy clung to a three-point lead over Rustad in the all-around before the state finals got under way Friday with the first and second rounds of cow cutting, an event Roshau also led in the state standings.
"I'm going to go make a nice, solid run," Roshau said. "I don't really think about having to beat anybody."
Roshau, Rustad and Lako all compete in the same events -- cow cutting, steer wrestling, team roping and tie-down roping -- with varying success.
"It almost kind of raises the bar a little bit," Lako said. "You see someone go out there and make a good run, it gets you a little more excited to go there and show them what you can do. The level of competitiveness is raised."
Lako, a recent graduate of Northern Cass High School, knows what it takes to win the all-around. He did it last year after finishing second in cow cutting and steer wrestling, fourth in tie-down roping and fifth in team roping.
This year, cutting and tie-down roping are his main events. He entered the finals second in the cutting, nine points behind Roshau, and fourth in the tie-down roping. He hopes to pick up a few points in steer wrestling and team roping too.
Roshau ranks second in the steer wrestling but isn't in the title chase in the team roping and tie-down roping.
Rustad is the most balanced. He's fourth in both cow cutting and steer wrestling and seventh in tie-down roping.
"Obviously everyone wants to win it," Lako said. "It's a pretty big deal."
Johnson picks rodeo, shot at steer wrestling title, over Badlands Bowl
Justice Johnson has never been to the National High School Finals Rodeo.
He wasn't about to let the chance slip by him in his final shot at it.
Johnson, a recent graduate of Bismarck Century High School, turned down a spot in Saturday's Badlands Bowl all-star football game so he could chase his goal of winning a state championship in the steer wrestling at the State Finals this weekend in Bowman.
Johnson, a 6-foot, 245-pound Class 3A all-state center, always balanced football and rodeo in the fall. Never did the two interfere until now.
"It'd be ridiculous for me to miss that (the state finals) when this fall I'll hopefully be playing football at the University of Mary," Johnson said. "I've been rodeoing my whole life, and I guess I'm doing pretty good so why give that up?"
In rodeo, Johnson is not only the state standings leader in the steer wrestling -- an event in which he holds a nearly insurmountable 27-point lead -- he is also the steer wrestling student event director.
That, combined with a mandatory Friday morning meeting, meant Johnson had to give up his hopes of playing in the Badlands Bowl to focus on rodeo.
He isn't too broken up about it though.
"I've always been a bulldogger. I've always wanted that state title," Johnson said. "Now I'm ahead and I can secure it. It would be pretty cool to say that I got that."
Colt Roshau, who will be a senior at Century in the fall and leads the all-around standings, is in second place behind Johnson in the steer wrestling.
He said finding a way to beat his teammate is difficult.
"I don't know if anyone can really catch him," Roshau said.
- Odds are great the state bareback riding championship will end up in Mandan. Logan Berg has a 24.5-point lead on teammate Weston Hartman and the next three fighting for a spot at the NHSFR are all from Mandan.
- Richardton's Dalton Rixen has a 47-point lead in the saddle bronc riding, meaning he has the state title already locked up. Wyatt Bice of Killdeer is in second place.
- Glen Ulllin's Cameron Morman sits second in the tie-down roping, which he can still win, and third in the steer wrestling, though he is too far behind Johnson to contend for the title. He was state champion in both events last year.
- Mandan's Teddi Schwagler is going for a repeat in the girls all-around and the goat tying. She has a 43-point lead on Watford City's Samantha Jorgenson in the all-around but faces a tougher test from Kintyre's Chantel Fettig in the goat tying, where her lead is less than 20 points.
- Berthold's Cotey Hanson will repeat as a champion in the team roping. He teamed with Levi O'Keeffe last year but is with Tate Benson this year. The duo has an insurmountable 76-point lead on Keaton Schaffer of Broadus, Mont., and Killdeer's River Voigt.