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Schaper recovered, ready to chase title

When Hailey Schaper injured her elbow at the Dickinson State Cowboy Challenge rodeo at the end of March, doctors told her she would be out for three months.

Hailey Schaper turns a barrel
Photo by Dustin Monke Hailey Schaper turns a barrel on May 30 during the Dickinson High School Rodeo. Schaper, a Killdeer High School graduate, has recovered from a left elbow injury and goes to the state high school rodeo finals this weekend looking for a state championship in the goat tying.

When Hailey Schaper injured her elbow at the Dickinson State Cowboy Challenge rodeo at the end of March, doctors told her she would be out for three months.

A nasty fall after a bad dismount in goat tying had left Schaper with a dislocated left elbow. It looked to be a tragic end to a successful high school rodeo and track and field career for the Killdeer High School senior.

"I basically blew out my elbow, tore everything in it," she said. "The doctor said three months of recovery, but I had rodeos and track I had to do. So it was a good six weeks."

On May 8, Schaper returned to the rodeo arena at the Williston High School Rodeo. She took third in the goat tying and began climbing back.

She wrapped up her final regular season with a win and an 8.02-second run at the New Salem Rodeo on June 6.

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She heads into this weekend's North Dakota High School Rodeo Association Finals in Bowman just four points out of first place.

Though Schaper trails Flasher's Whitney Eckroth, with 40 points up for grabs, she knows her first state title -- at least in rodeo -- is well within reach.

"I'm sitting in a good spot right now," Schaper said.

Schaper won the final two rodeos in the fall season, winning with a season-best 7.7-second time at the fall finale in Velva last September.

However, she has earned 40 of her 74 season points in the spring season -- and that's after missing the spring opening doubleheader in West Fargo.

Still, Schaper isn't putting anything past Sadie Gjermundson of Halliday (third with 55.5 points) or Rhame's Kayla Olind (fourth with 52.5).

"It's anyone's game," Schaper said.

This weekend not only begins the countdown to the end of Schaper's high school rodeo career, but likely her time as a full-time competitor in the sport.

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In August, Schaper heads to Dickinson State where she plans to play basketball and jump for the track and field team. She won the state high jump title as a junior and placed fourth this year.

Still, Schaper is hoping her point total holds so she can be, at the very least, one of the four North Dakotans to qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo.

"If I make it to nationals, I'll have that," Schaper said.

Etc.

r Dickinson saddle bronc rider Shaun Stroh added $1,854 to his season earnings total at three different rodeos in Canada last weekend. Stroh sits fifth in the world standings with $43,175 in earnings this year.

r Killdeer High School graduate Clayton Morrison had a 4.3-second run in the steer wrestling to take third at the Sisters (Ore.) Rodeo and earn $1,324. He is fourth in the world with $33,534.

r Dickinson saddle bronc rider Wesley Jensen won the North Dakota Rodeo Association's season opener in Elgin this weekend with a 78-point ride. Results of the rodeo can be found in the Scoreboard on Page B2.

Monke is the Sports Editor of The Dickinson Press. Read his blog at www.areavoices.com/monke . If you have any rodeo news or story tips, contact him at 701-456-1213 or through his e-mail address listed at the top of this story.

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