Taylorsville youth Shasta Banchio, 12, was excited to learn she was the top junior pole bender in her region and able to compete in state finals this month.
She was even more excited when she “got rolled up” into competition for championships in other events as well.
Students who earned the top points in each event had to roll out of the competition due to poor grades in school.
All the rolling around actually put Banchio’s lifelong friend Tanner Meigs, 13, into the championship roster as well, and his excitement at practice last week was palpable.
Meigs had a little trouble with breakaway roping practice at first, missing more often than not, but by the time he and Banchio jumped from the gate together in team roping practice about an hour later, he was looking more comfortable in the saddle.
After a while, it was hard to tell where the kids left off and the horses began, with their coordinated, purpose driven movements.
Both are honor students taking advanced English and history classes.
They received special permission to take rodeo classes at Feather River College, where they practice weekly with coach Jesse Segura and members of the team.
They also practice weekly with their families and members of the Indian Valley Riding and Roping Club, as well as participate in club playdays and clinics, such as two given by renowned trainer Destry Campbell last year.
Besides team roping, Banchio and Meigs will also be competing in breakaway roping and ribbon roping, and possibly goat tying for Meigs as well.
The Wranglers Junior Rodeo Finals will be Thursday, May 17, through Sunday, May 20, at the Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth.
The location is less than four hours from Plumas County, and the fastest route on Google Maps is via Highway 70 into the Sacramento area and on to Business 80, then via highways 16 east and 49 north.
The address of the fairgrounds is 18621 Sherwood St. in Plymouth.
For more information, call the California High School Rodeo membership secretary, Robin Doyle, at 347-4375, or visit chsra.org.
For information about joining the Indian Valley Riding and Roping Club, call President Misty Banchio, Shasta’s mom, at 284-1472 or visit taylorsvillerodeo.com.