Gjermundson bounces back

Hali Gjermundson tore the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in her knee while competing in the goat tying on the first day of the North Dakota High School Finals Rodeo last June.

Hali Gjermundson tore the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in her knee while competing in the goat tying on the first day of the North Dakota High School Finals Rodeo last June.

Not that it mattered though.

The Marshall cowgirl just slapped on some tape and a brace and went on with the rodeo. She competed the next two days without knowing how serious the injury was.

When all was said and done, Gjermundson had wrapped up her second consecutive girls all-around state title.

She didn't find out until after the rodeo that she would need surgery to repair the injury, which kept her from competing at the National High School Finals Rodeo.


"It was torn all the way," said Gjermundson, who recently graduated from Richardton-Taylor High School.

Even though she reinjured the knee during the girls basketball season, Gjermundson hasn't given up on rodeo and has made the effort count.

"It (the knee) bothers me a little, but not too bad," Gjermundson said.

Gjermundson is riding toward her third consecutive girls all-around state title with a tremendous lead heading into this weekend's NDHSFR in Bowman.

Gjermundson has 291.5 points in the all-around. Her next closest competition, Sheyenne's Bobbi Grann, has 192.5. Jori Gjermundson, Hali's younger sister, is fourth in the standings with 150 points.

The NDHSFR begins at 6 p.m. today with team roping and continues through Sunday.

Gjermundson isn't taking her anything for granted, including her shot at a third all-around championship.

"I have a little bigger lead than I had the last two years, but I guess anything can happen still," she said.


Though the knee still bothers her, it hasn't shown in her performances.

Gjermundson has a 10-point lead in breakaway roping and is 1.5 points behind leader Rebecca Chase of Hazen in the girls cow cutting. She also, ironically, trails barrel racing leader Kinsey Warner of Pembina by 1.5 points.

Gjermundson is also picking up points where most cowgirls don't. She and partner Drew Gartner of Killdeer are currently third in the team roping.

"She's pretty natural at it," Gartner said. "She handles pressure pretty good. I just get them caught and she's there (to heel)."

Gjermundson no longer competes in goat tying. The stress of leaping off her horse would be too hard on her knee.

However, she has more responsibility outside the arena as the student president of the North Dakota High School Rodeo Association.

Gjermundson's father, Brad Gjermundson, is a four-time world champion saddle bronc rider and is a member of the National Rodeo Hall of Fame. He said his daughter's dedication to rodeo has shown throughout her career.

"She practices hard ... she's dedicated," Brad Gjermundson said. "I'm not saying it comes easy for her. She works hard."


Hali Gjermundson's work ethic has paid off. She plans to attend Southwestern Oklahoma State in Weatherford, Okla., where she intends to rodeo and get her degree in radiology.

Right now though, Gjermundson is prepared to concentrate on winning some state titles and advancing to the national finals rodeo that eluded her last season.

"Hopefully I can make it in a few events," Gjermundson said. "Four I'm counting on."

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