GILLETTE, WYOMING – A Fort St. John student has joined Team BC in Wyoming for the largest National High School Finals Rodeo in history, featuring over 1,700 contestants from Canada and the USA. 

Kali Atkings travelled to the Rodeo with Rylie Bondaroff of Arras. Atkings is competing in pole bending, and Bondaroff is participating in both breakaway roping and goat tying. 

During Monday’s second performance group, Atkings placed 11th with a 21.65- second run.

Bondaroff placed 10th in Tuesday’s second performance group in goat tying with an 8.71-second run. In the fourth performance on Tuesday in breakaway roping, Bondaroff placed 3rd with a 4.19-second run.

Atkings says she and Bondaroff have done well so far and aim to speed up their runs by tightening up some turns and getting off their goat horses faster.

“It’s awesome here. We’ve been blessed with some great weather compared to other years. It’s a little windy and hot, but overall, really good. With help from our sponsors, our horses are looking and feeling great,” said Atkings.

Team BC’s Hailey Waterhouse, from William’s Lake, is also competing in pole bending. According to Waterhouse, Team BC is doing well, despite the disadvantage of not being able to train year-round due to weather. 

“It’s all part of the experience. I think it’s cool that we all get to come down here as a team and experience it together,” said Waterhouse.

Atkings and Bondaroff would like to thank their sponsors: Tidy Trucking and Bigloud Music Productions for Atkings, and Celtic Construction, Element Disposal and Brown’s Chevrolet Buick GMC for Bondaroff.

Thursday marked day five of the National High School Finals Rodeo. The competition will end this Saturday, July 23rd.

Team BC consists of 14 students from across the province.

Jordan Prentice is a multimedia reporter for and a recent graduate of BCIT’s Broadcast and Online Journalism program. Born and raised in Vancouver, Jordan’s passion for broadcast and journalism began with her dream of becoming a hockey journalist and play-by-play commentator. During her schooling, Jordan discovered a deep passion for reporting on Indigenous issues, culture and affairs. Jordan is also passionate about connecting with and listening to stories from people...