Boys get their shot at rodeo nationals too

Devin Jensrud, of North Branch, holds on in bull riding competition on the National High School Rodeo Association’s circuit. He will compete at nationals July 14-20 in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

In addition to the two young women heading to the National High School Rodeo Association’s national competition in Rock Springs, Wyoming (see page 1 of this week's Star or online under our featured stories), two young men from the area are also competing. To qualify, they placed in the top four in their events at the Minnesota High School Rodeo Finals in Hugo in June. 

They answered questions recently about this opportunity to compete on the national level. 

Devin Jensrud

City and age: North Branch, age 18 

School and grade entering this fall: Graduated North Branch Area High School 2019

Events you’re competing in at nationals:Bull riding, steer wrestling

First time to nationals? Yes, this will be my first time going to nationals.

How many years doing those event(s)? Steer wrestling for six years; riding bulls for four years

How did you begin the sport? I grew up in a rodeo family.

What do you enjoy most about your event? Bull riding: I love the thrill and adrenaline rush and the sound of the 8-second buzzer when I’ve made it that far.

What do you find most challenging? Keeping a positive mindset after a buck-off streak

Plan to keep doing event after high school in some way? Yes, it will be a career, along with horseshoeing

Johan Pankan

City and age:Stacy, age 16 (brother to Emma Pankan, goat tying competitor going to nationals – see article page 1)

School and grade entering in fall: 11th grade at Cambridge Christian School 

Event you’re competing in at nationals: Trap shooting

What does a competition look like? For a round, there are five shooters on the “line” – one in each of the five positions. Each person will shoot in order (1, then 2, then 3, etc.). Once everyone has shot five times in a position, everyone rotates. Everyone will shoot from all five positions and shoot a total of 25 shells. The scorekeeper will mark down everyone’s hits and misses. 

   The clay targets or “pigeons” are 3-4 inches in diameter. The “house” is 16 yards from the line, and that is where the clays are thrown from. I believe they are thrown at a speed of 40 mph. The thrower rotates so the clays could be thrown left, right or straight. 

   At a meet, competitors usually shoot four rounds (100 shells total) and the highest score wins.    

First time to nationals? This will be my first national trip.

How many years doing that event? Started trap in 8th grade on the Cambridge Christian School team. 

What do you enjoy most about your event? My favorite part about trap is the competition and hanging out with people. 

What do you find most challenging?Staying focused and a good attitude play a big part of trap and can be a challenge. 

What are you most excited about at nationals? I am really looking forward to the whole week of nationals. I’m excited to see Wyoming because I’ve never been there, but I have heard that it is amazing. I’m also excited to compete at a high level. 

Plan to keep doing event after high school in some way? I would like to continue after high school, but I don’t have any plans set in stone yet. 

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