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Brothers place 1st, runner-up in saddle bronc riding

Press Photo by Royal McGregor South Heart’s Boyd Stroh competes in saddle bronc riding during the North Dakota High School State Rodeo Finals on Sunday at Bowman Indoor Rodeo Arena.

BOWMAN — Boyd Stroh won’t have to travel to the High School Nationals Finals Rodeo alone.

He will be joined by his younger brother, Qwint.

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Boyd and Qwint finished as champion and runner-up, respectively, in saddle bronc riding to close out the North Dakota High School State Rodeo Finals on Sunday at the Bowman Indoor Rodeo Arena.

“I wasn’t expecting that by any means,” Boyd said about finishing in the top two with his younger brother. “He came in sitting fifth and then just picked up these last couple of days and jumped up to second place. That’s pretty impressive.”

Boyd entered the weekend with a guaranteed spot in to the National High School Finals Rodeo, which begins July 13 in Rock Springs, Wyo. Boyd started the state finals with a 29-point lead and needed one qualified ride to win a state title. Boyd achieved more than one qualified ride as he won the second go and final performance to finish with 87 points, which was 25 points better than Qwint.

“This weekend went better than I had planned,” said Boyd, who will be senior at South Heart in the fall. “I came in a little nervous. I got bucked off the first round and then the second round I realized that I’m up here to have fun, because I worked all year to get here. I went out won that go around, then (on Sunday) I went out and wanted one more go around before nationals.”

However, the same couldn’t be said for Qwint. Whatever subtle changes he made during the weekend, Qwint wasn’t going to stray too far away from those differences.

“I really don’t know, something just clicked and I started to stay on,” Qwint said with a smile.

Entering the final performance on Sunday, Boyd had the state championship title locked up, but he wasn’t going take it easy on the last bronc. He won the final performance with a 73-point ride.

“People were saying that I could go out there fall off, but that’s not what you have to do,” Boyd said. “You have to go out there and give your very best, because you have to be pleased with yourself at the end of the day.”

Qwint placed runner-up after scoring 61 on his final bronc. Qwint also won the weekend average as he was the only cowboy to ride all three broncs.

“The first half was a little rough, because I had just started saddle bronc riding,” Qwint said. “I really got back into this spring and I placed and get to go to nationals.”

Yet, Qwint wasn’t finished after saddle bronc riding. He also qualified for nationals in bull riding, placing fourth as Mandan’s Weston Hartman won the event by being the only cowboy to stay on for all eight seconds in the final performance.

Hartman trailed Carrington’s Keenan Kvamme by one point going into the final performance. The cowboy from Mandan scored 67 points on his final bull.

“It’s a big deal for me,” Qwint said. “I ended up fourth in the bull riding and I didn’t ride any this week, but it will be fun down (at nationals).”

Boyd said it’s a pretty special feeling to be traveling around the state with his younger brother and his father — Shaun, who qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in saddle bronc riding five times and won it once.

He’s happy those times aren’t going be over anytime soon.

“We travel together, ride together and drive home together,” Boyd said. “It’s special.”

Bohlman teams up with Benson to win state title In team roping, each cowboy or cowgirl has to play their part to be successful.

Richardton’s Layton Bohlman and Tate Benson Scobey, Mont., left nothing to chance.

The cowboys won the state team roping title before competing on the finals performance.

Bohlman and Benson held a 19-point lead going into the finals and added to their already impressive season. The cowboys won the final round with a time of 6.3 seconds.

“I just wanted to get a good end to the season and go out on a good note,” Bohlman said.

The Richardton cowboy said it’s great to have a teammate like Benson, who also won a state championship in steer wrestling. Benson is the header and Bohlman is the heeler.

“It’s great to have a good partner,” Bohlman said. “It helps a bunch to have a good header.”

Though the two won a state title, Bohlman feels confident the two can make some noise during the national finals.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I can’t wait.”

Kelsch finishes just short of second state title It takes the average human three- to four-tenths of a second to blink

The pole bending state title was decided by six-thousandths of a second.

Going into the final race, Beulah’s Leah Voigt and Lexus Kelsch of McLaughlin, S.D., were tied with 114 points. Whoever ran the fastest time between Voight and Kelsch was going to be the winner of the state championship.

Voigt, who was the sixth cowgirl to compete in the event, finished with a time of 21.186 seconds. Kelsch rode three spots later. The McLaughlin cowgirl ended at 21.192 seconds.

“All I wanted to do is make a clean run and I knew it counted,” Kelsch said.

Despite not winning the state championship in pole bending, Kelsch didn’t leave empty handed. She won the state barrel racing title by a wide margin.

Kelsch was pleased with her performance at the state finals. However, she wants to continue running solid times during the national finals.

“I was very pleased with my horse and how she worked,” she said. “There’s really tough competition down there and there are really good horses.”