By Rodrick Anderson
Southwest Louisiana dominated the Louisiana High School Finals Rodeo over the last week at Burton Coliseum.
A year after winning seven titles, SWLA cowboys and cowgirls captured 10 of 13 state championships this year.
Sulphur sophomore cowboy won two of those 10 state championships in bull riding and boys cutting.
“It feels good,” Stelly said. “I just don’t have words to explain it.
“I knew that I could do it. I just had to stay focused and stay positive.”
Stelly made a 74 point ride in the first round and scored 73 in the second to lock up the bull riding state title by a wide margin this time after beating Vinton’s Taylor Pierce by just 1.5 points last year. He beat runner up Jace Trosclair 114.65-74.
Stelly has won three consecutive state bull riding championships including the junior high one he won in 2017.
The top four in each event qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming, July 14-20.
Despite having to ride a back-up horse, Sulphur’s Brooklyn Gunter won her second state pole bending championship in three years, 132.8-118.15 over Murphy.
Gunter knocked a pair of poles down in the first go round, but steadily improved with a time of 21.299 in the second go and 20.955 in the short go Saturday.
Gunter beat Central School’s Josey Murphy, the average champion and All Around Cowgirl, 132.8-118.15.
Sulphur Kaylee Kinney qualified for national in three events including a state title in girls cutting. She also placed third in barrel racing and fourth in pole bending.
Also for Sulphur, Cole Ford took placed fourth tie down roping. He won second go (9.5 seconds) and was second in short go round (10.63)
Kinder senior Britt Buller cemented himself as one of the top heelers in the state by winning his second team roping title in three years.
There was not much room for a mistake for Buller and header Koby Sanchez in the short go round Saturday.
The duo had an 18.2 point lead, but the team of Zeb Corkern and Riley Rieken was right on their heals. Buller and Sanchez shined as they posted the second best time of the round (7.98 seconds) to win the LHSFR state team roping championship by 17.4 points.
Buller qualified for the NHSFR for the fourth consecutive year.
“This is a great year,” Buller said. “I made nationals.
“That has always been my goal. I work at it.”
Despite rarely getting to practice together, the duo never placed worse than fourth in all three rounds and finished with a total time of 23.93 seconds, .09 seconds behind Corkern and Rieken in the average standings.
“My partner lives about three hours away from me, so we didn’t get to practice that much,” Buller said. “But I knew he was going to do his job and I just had to clean my part up.”
Buller over came a broken leg as a freshman in 2016 and pulled off a state runner up finish. That helped to jump start his four year run as one of the top heelers in the state, never finishing worse then second despite using a different partner every year.
“I broke my leg one year (2016) and I really didn’t think I would make it,” Buller said. “I had a good state finals and ended up making it.
“It showed me to really keep digging at it.”
The state breakaway roping and barrel racing championship came down to the wire.
Grand Lake sophomore Bailey Mudd broke the barrier in the short go round, incurring a 10 second penalty, but held on to beat Live Oak’s Kamryn Duncan by 8.25 points, 107.3-99.05. Mudd was third last year.
“It was just a train wreck in my opinion, but it worked in the end,” Mudd said. “Sometimes you have to lose to win I guess.
“I felt great relief. I could not have made that run without my horse or God. He works in the most mysterious ways. I don’t know what to say.”
Welsh’s Kylie Conner ran away with the barrel racing title last year, but managed to edge Murphy, who beat Mudd by .288 seconds for the average title, by 3.85 points to successfully defend her state title.
Conner was not the only on to win back-to-back state titles. Welsh’s Coy Hebert won his second consecutive saddle bronc championship.
Other state champions from SWLA include Basile’s Isaac Ingram (bareback riding) and Bell City’s Kinley Leblanc (reined cow horse). Ingram also took third in saddle bronc.
Hackberry’s Jacques Trahan won two of three rounds in tie down roping and the average championship (31.48 seconds on three head) and nearly knocked off leader Brad Hesnor (Sacred Heart), who won by a slim 2.45 point margin, 97.55-95.1. Trahan started the state rodeo in sixth place.
South Beauregard’s Katherine Moss won average title (19.42 seconds on three head) and placed sixth in the point standings in breakaway roping. She also placed third in goat tying.
Welsh’s John Mayes finished third in steer wrestling after winning the short go round in 5.59 seconds.
Short go round winners
Bareback riding — Isaac Ingram, Basile, 57.
Barrel racing — Josey Murphy, Central School, 15.385
Saddle bronc riding — Coy Hebert, Welsh, 76.
Tie down roping — Jacques Trahan, Hackberry, 10.08.
Breakaway roping — Morgan Sparks, Marthaville, 3.17.
Steer wrestling — John Mayes, Welsh, 5.59.
Goat tying — Kamryn Duncan, Live Oak, 7.05
Team roping — Brady Jacobsen, South Beauregard/Jayce Reeves, Ragley, 7.76.
Pole bending — Gabby Gunter, Sulphur, 19.888.
Bareback riding — Isaac Ingram, Basile, 186/3.
Barrel racing — Josey Murphy, Central School, 46.311/3.
Saddle bronc riding — Coy Hebert, Welsh, 138/2.
Tie down roping — Jacques Trahan, Hackberry, 31.48/3.
Breakaway roping — Katherine Moss, South Beauregard, 19.42/3.
Steer wrestling — Grant Soileau, Sacred Heart, 17.05/3.
Goat tying — Kamryn Duncan, Live Oak, 22.8/3.
Team roping — Zeb Cockran, Zachary/Riley Rieken, Arp, Tx., 23.84/3.
Pole bending — Josey Murphy, Central School, 61.512/3.
Bull riding — Kolby Stelly, Sulphur, 147/2.
Bareback riding — Isaac Ingram, Basile.
Barrel racing — Kylie Conner, Welsh.
Saddle bronc riding — Coy Hebert, Welsh.
Tie down roping — Brad Hesnor, Sacred Heart.
Breakaway roping — Bailey Mudd, Grand Lake.
Steer wrestling — Grant Soileau, Sacred Heart.
Goat tying — Kamryn Duncan, Live Oak.
Team roping — Koby Sanchez, Ethel, La./Britt Buller, Kinder.
Pole bending — Brooklyn Gunter, Sulphur.
Bull riding — Kolby Stelly, Sulphur.
Boys cutting — Kolby Stelly, Sulphur.
Girls cutting — Kaylee Kinney, Sulphur.
Reined cow horse — Kinley Leblanc, Bell City.
LHSRA final standings
1, Isaac IngramBasile82
2, Wyatt LacourSt. Edmund10
1, Kylie ConnerWelsh, La.106
2, Josey MurphyCentral School102.15
3, Kaylee KinneySulphur83.1
4, Averie VidrineUniv. Acad.70
5, Allison PrejeanSulphur62.05
1, Kolby StellySulphur29
2, Clayton SharpeLacassine16.30
1, Bailey MuddGrand Lake107.3
2, Kamryn DuncanLive Oak99.05
3, Josey MurphyCentral School90
4, Morgan SparksAbeka Christ.87.35
5, Millie FreySacred Heart69.2
1, Kolby StellySulphur114.65
2, Jace TrosclairS. Terrebonne74
3, Seth PrejeantH.L. Bourgeois66
4, Taylor AllenLivonia54
5, Mason SpainForney, Tx.52.15
1, Kaylee KinneySulphur35.4
2, Kinley LeblancBell City34.9
3, Bella DronettSam Houston34
1, Kamryn DuncanLive Oak137.1
2, Josey MurphyCentral School108.28
3, Katherine MossS. Beauregard103
4, Annamarie PierceCloutierville, La.74.9
4, Tanzi StaffordSt. Joseph’s71.88
1, Brooklyn GunterSulphur132.8
2, Josey MurphyCentral School118.15
3, Allie FreySacred Heart104.45
4, Kaylee KinneySulphur71.65
5, Lena JohnsonChoudrant69.25
Reined cow horse
1, Kinley LeblancBell City38.8
2, Hadley DunnehooReeves31.5
3, Keri GrangerDeRidder, La.25.6
4, Cady FrugeWelsh22.7
Saddle bronc riding
1, Coy HebertWelsh, La.150.55
2, Isaac RichardSt. Edmund122.2
3, Isaac IngramBasile36
4, Shea FournierE.D. White9
5, Lane GillAnacoco8
1, Grant SoileauSacred Heart160.1
2, Brad HesnorSacred Heart147.9
3, John MayesWelsh143.25
4, Matthew WeeksKeatchie, La.95.2
5, Kacen GanttMt. Olive Christ.77.6
1, Koby SanchezEthel, La.
Britt BullerKinder, La.223.8
2, Riley RiekenArp, Tx.
Zeb CorkernZachary, La.206.4
3, Levi BrownPleasant Hill, La.
Jacob ColemanDownsville Chr.151.9
4, Luke DuboisChurch Point, La.
Ethan SparksAbeka Christ.148.2
5, Grant SoileauSacred Heart
Brad HesnorSacred Heart120
Tie down roping
1, Brad HesnorScared Heart97.55
2, Jacques TrahanHackberry, La.95.1
3, Chase BorresCentral83.2
4, Cole FordSulphur82.8
5, Hazen MartinSulphur74.85
All Around Cowboy
1, Brad HesnorSacred Heart305.5
2, Grant SoileauSacred Heart220.1
3, Jacques TrahanHackberry, La.170.9
4, John MayesWelsh143.3
5, Luke DuboisChurch Point, La.126.6
Rookie All Around Cowboy
1, Luke DuboisSt. Anne’s126.6
2, Kase BusbyHicks114.8
All Around Cowgirl
1, Josey MurphyCentral School478.5
2, Kamryn DuncanLive Oak273.2
3, Kylie ConnerWelsh, La.211.4
4, Kaylee KinneySulphur188.6
5, Meredith ScroggsKelly, La.168.2
Rookie All Around Cowgirl
1, AnnaMarie PierceCloutierville, La.165.7
2, Allie FreySacred Heart113.3
3, Camryn RichardLake Charles87.4
4, Anna ForsytheNatchitoches71.4
5, Kylie CliburnDutchtown63