By RORICK ANDERSON
LAKE CHARLES — For two years, Rhett Goodner begged his father to let him add cutting to his already busy rodeo schedule that included team roping, tie down roping and reined cow horse.
Finally, midway through his sophomore year, Goodner got the go ahead and picked up a horse named Mater.
“My freshman year, I begged and begged my dad to let me cut,” Goodner said. “I begged him my 10th grade year and he finally gave in.
“To get a good horse is a lot of money so he was a little skeptical at first but he finally gave in after begging for two years.”
Now the Sulphur High junior is headed to the National High School Finals Rodeo after winning the cutting championship on Tuesday at the Louisiana High School Finals Rodeo at Burton Complex after finishing fifth last year.
“It feels really good,” Goodner said. “I am just doing what I love to do and I take pride in it. I am real excited to go to nationals.”
Goodner started off with a disappointing 140-point first round Monday morning but put in some extra work before the second go round and it paid off with a new championship buckle and saddle. He won the second round after scoring 147 points and won the short go round Tuesday morning with 150 points.
“I was just trying to get my horse backed up,” Goodner said. “In cutting, you really want your horse rocking back on his back end.
“Before the second round, I was getting back on him more.”
Goodner finished with 168.5 points while Kase Bacque (Port Barre) was the runner up with 151 points. Church Point High School’s Timothy Venable was third (135) and St. Louis Catholic’s Lance Labove claimed the last ticket to nationals with 130 points.
In girls’ cutting, Cedar Creek’s Kelly O’Neal won with 144.5 points and Jonesboro-Hodges’ Larkin McBride was the runner up with 129.5 points. Sam Houston’s Katy Fogleman (113) and Academy of Sacred Heart’s Chloe Frey also qualified for nationals after finishing third and fourth respectively.
Cutting also had a big effect on the All-Around Cowboy standings. Bacque started with just a one-point lead over Iowa cowboy Cyle Denison but now leads 241-228 after taking the runner up spot. Denison finished fifth.