LAKE CHARLES — Going into the final round on Saturday at the Louisiana High School Finals Rodeo, Sulphur High School sophomore Brooklyn Gunter knew her hopes of winning the pole bending state championship would come down to the wire. But she didn’t let the pressure get to her and won by just one and a half points.

“It feels amazing,” Gunter said. “I was so nervous because everything was so close in the average.

“I felt a big relief (after final round) but I everything was still close, I didn’t know if I had won yet.”

She had every right to be nervous. After winning the first go round on Wednesday with the fastest time of the week (19.502 seconds), Gunter knocked over the third pole on her first pass threw the poles in the second go round on Thursday (25.383) and didn’t place. But she still led Academy of Sacred Heart’s Chloe Frey by five points, 119-114.

With Frey leading the average standings, Gunter needed a perfect final round and turned in a 19.824 second run to win the short go round on Saturday and place fourth in the average. Had she finished two places lower in the average standings, she would have lost to Frey by 1.5 points but managed to win 139.5 to 138.

Gunter’s older sister, senior Lexi Gunter, overcame a six-point deficit to punch her ticket to the National High School Finals Rodeo in July in breakaway roping.

Gunter was in fifth heading into the final round but took sixth in the short go (3.01 seconds) and placed fourth in the average standings. She also caught a big break when Lena Johnson missed her calf allowing her to take the fourth and final national qualifier spot.

Sulphur senior Garrett Ellender missed out on second consecutive state title in saddle bronc riding but is still headed to nationals after taking the runner up spot behind Beekman Charter’s Michael Womack.

Ellender won the first go round (54 points) and the short go round (65) but a miss in the second cost him the championship which Womack won 120.5-112.

Sulphur freshman Allison Prejean won the short go round of barrel racing (15.148 seconds) but missed qualifying for national by just half a point.

Iota senior Judd Hebert won his sixth bull riding state championship in seven seasons and third straight at the high school level. But the final one meant a little more for Hebert who will get a chance to defending his national championship at the NHSFR.

“It feels pretty great,” Hebert said. “I will probably cherish this one more because this is my last year. I am glad that I did it again.”

Hebert had the championship wrapped up before the finals even began but wasn’t satisfied after falling off before the eight-second buzzer in first round. He went on to make the only two complete rides of the rodeo with an 84-point ride in the second round and 81 in the short go on Saturday.

“I made a simple little mistake on the first one and I made sure to fix that,” Hebert said.

Iowa junior Kaylee Cormier successfully defended her state title in goat tying. She won the second go round with a time of 6.48 seconds and won the average title with an aggregate time of 21.85 to win the championship by 15.5 points over Live Oak’s Kamryn Duncan.

“I came in with a better mind set,” Cormier said. “Last year, I came in behind and had to fight for it.

“This year my mind set was more to make my runs and let everything work for its self.”

With the help of his cousin and 2016 champ Ryan Gotreaux as his hazer, Welsh’s Cameron Gotreaux won both the steer wrestling state championship and average championship with rides of 4.45, 5.42 and 5.13 seconds

“It was a big confidence builder knowing he (Ryan) is on the other side. I know he ain’t going to miss many.

“You can’t think about it. If you start thinking about it you start messing up. You just go back to basics, muscle memory.”

Cousins Cyle Denison, of Iowa, and Britt Buller from Kinder battled from an 18-point deficit to win the team roping state title with 226 points. They were tied heading into the final round with Northwest’s Noah Briley and Old Bethel Christian’s Seth Smith but finish second in the short go (6.53 seconds) and won the average title as well (24.15 seconds on three head).

For Denison, it was his second title and first since his freshman year.

“It just feels good to get it and be back on top,” Denison said. “I should have been there (last year) but I didn’t deserve it but this year I feel like we deserved it.”

Buller broke his leg last year and finished as the runner up with then partner Zeb Corkern before joining up with Denison this season.

“I have a really great partner and have all the confidence in the world,” Buller said. “We put a lot of work into it.”

Other winners included Opelousas Catholic’s Kaleb Douget in bareback riding, Benton’s Jillian Carter in barrel racing, Central’s Macon Murphy in calf roping and Kamryn Duncan in breakaway roping.

Freshman Kase Bacque won All-Around Cowboy and All-Around Rookie Cowboy honors. All-Around Cowgirl honors went to Frey while Central School Josey Murphy won All-Around Rookie Cowgirl honors.

Short go results and final standings from Louisiana High School finals rodeo held last week at the Burton Complex in Lake Charles.


Bareback riding

Rk., Name, School Score

1, Waylon Bourgeois, Notre Dame 71

Saddle bronc

Rk., Name, School Score

1, Garrett Ellender, Sulphur 65

2, Michael Womack, Beekman Charter 56

Barrel racing

Rk., Name, School Time

1, Allison Prejean, Sulphur 15.148

2, Jillian Carter,Benton 15.202

3, Lizzie Broussard, Home School 15.347

4, Quincy Mudd, Grand Lake 15.579

Calf roping

Rk., Name, School Time

1, Tayt Little, Hackberry 8.96

2, Bradley Hesnor, Sacred Heart-VP 9.51

3, Lane Weeks, Central 11.06

4, Garrett Davis, Oak Hill 11.38

Breakaway roping

Rk., Name, School Time

1, Abigail James, Rosepine 2.37

2, Kaylee Cormier, Iowa 2.48

3, Kelly O’Neal, Cedar Creek 2.54

4, Mickayla Brown, Home School 2.77

Steer wrestling

Rk., Name, School Time

1, Cameron Gotreaux, Welsh 5.13

2, John Mayes, Welsh 5.17

3, Gavin Soilea, Sacred Heart VP 5.18

4, Remey Parrott 6.00

Goat tying

Rk., Name, School Time

1, Kati Murphy, Bell City 7.15

2, Kamryn Duncan, Live Oak 7.34

3, Josey Murphy, Central School 7.41

4, Kaylee Cormier, Iowa 7.89

Pole bending

Rk., Name, School Time

1, Brooklyn Gunter, Sulphur 19.824

2, Chloe Frey, Acad-Sacred Heart 20.346

3, Kati Murphy, Bell City 20.621

4, Lauren Craig, St. Joseph’s 20.630

Team roping

Rk., Name, School Time

1, Justin Booth, Home School 5.77

Garrett Davis, Oak Hill

2, Cyle Denison, Home School 6.53

Britt Buller, Home School

3, Koby Sanchez, Silliman 6.59

Kase Bacque, Home School

4, Morgan Sparks, Home School 6.75

Logan Fontenot, Barbe

Bull riding

Rk., Name, School Pts.

1, Judd Hebert, Iota 81


Completed events

Girls cutting

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Kelly O’Neal, Cedar Creek 144.5

2, Larkin McBride, Jonesboro-Hodge 129.5

3, Katy Fogleman, Sam Houston 113.0

4, Chloe Frey, Academy-SH 110.2

5, Lexi McBride, Jonesboro-Hodge 108.5

Boys cutting

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Rhett Goodner, Sulphur 168.5

2, Kase Bacque, Home School 151.0

3, Timothy Venable, Church Point 135.0

4, Lance Labove, St. Louis Cath. 130.0

5, Cyle Denison, Home School 110.0

Reined cow horse

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Charli Little, Hackberry 66.7

2, Drew O’Quinn, Sulphur 53.2

4, Bailey Labove, Hackberry 51.0

3, Rhett Goodner, Home School 48.0

5, Larkin McBride, Jonesboro-Hodge 45.5

Bareback riding

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Kaleb Douget, Opelousas Cath. 121

2, Waylon Bourgeois*, Notre Dame 113.0

3, Cody Richardson, New Iberia 93.5

4, Dalton Wilburn, E. Beauregard 58.5

Barrel Racing

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Jillian Carter, Benton 113.5

2, Chloe Frey, Academy-SH 96

3, Josey Murphy, Keachie 88.5

4, Kati Murphy, Bell City 83

5, Allison Prejean, Sulphur 82.5

Saddle bronc

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Michael Womack, Beekman Charter 120.5

2, Garrett Ellender*, Sulphur 112

3, Coy Denais, Acadiana 9.0

Tie down roping

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Macon Murphy, Central 104

2, Blake Chauvin*, C. Lafourche 88

3, Tayt Little, Hackberry 84.5

4, Kase Bacque, Port Barre 68

5, Kyle Clark, Pineville 66.0

Breakaway roping

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Kamryn Duncan*, Live Oak 104

2, Josey Murphy, Central School 97

3, Chloe Frey, Academy-SH 89

4, Lexi Gunter, Sulphur 68

5, Lena Johnson, Choudrant 57.5

Steer wrestling

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Cameron Gotreaux*, Welsh 157

2, Remey Parrott, Sacred Heart-VP 142.5

3, Gavin Soileau, Sacred Heart-VP 138

4, Grant Soileau, Sacred Heart-VP 128

5, John Mayes, Welsh 103.5

Goat tying

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Kaylee Cormier*, Iowa 139

2, Kamryn Duncan, Live Oak 123.5

3, Kelly O’Neal, Cedar Creek 110.5

4, Camaren Johnson, DeRidder 94.0

5, Kati Murphy, Bell City 92.0

Team roping

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Cyle Denison*, Home School 226.0

Britt Buller*, Home School

2, Noah Briley, Northwest HS 194.0

Seth Smith, Old Bethel Christ.

3, Justin Booth, Home School 145.0

Garrett Davis, Oak Hill

4, Tyler McGuffee, Bossier City 142.0

Mason Pitts, Haughton

5, Haidon Saltzman, S. Beauregard 131.0

Chance Bernard, Westlake

Pole bending

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Brooklyn Gunter, Sulphur 139.5

2, Chloe Frey*, Academy-SH 138.0

3, Jillian Carter, Benton 117.0

4, Kati Murphy, Bell City 95.0

5, Lauren Craig, St. Joseph’s Acad. 87.5

Bull riding

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Judd Hebert*, Iota 135.0

2, Cody Martinez, Dutchtown 27.0

3, Taylor Pierce, Vinton 9.0

4, Ronald Swain, Iowa 9.0

5, Andrew Romero, Westgate 8.0

All-around cowboy

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Kase Bacque, Home School 282.5

2, Cyle Denison, Home School 279.4

All-around cowgirl

Rk., Player, School Pts.

1, Chloe Frey, Acad.-Sacred Heart 446.75

2, Kelly O’Neal, Cedar Creek 382.50

*Denotes average champion.