13-year-old Mandan teen competes in annual high school rodeo

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More than 100 high schoolers participating in The Mandan Horse and Saddle Club’s Annual High School Rodeo showcased their skills from beginner to professional.

KX News spoke with a first-time rodeo competitor about how she prepares for the competition.

About 160 contestants from North and South Dakota and even Montana are competing in the 14th Annual Mandan High School Rodeo.

This is 13-year-old Hailey Roman’s first time competing.

“I’m excited to see how all of my hard work has been, how well I will perform in the arena, and how well we work together,” Mandan Rodeo Contestant Hailey Romans said.

Romans spent three hours every day this summer practicing for barrel racing.

“You have to know when to sit down and grab your horse and then switch to one hand and when to turn your horse, so you don’t knock down the barrel. It’s a lot of thinking and practice. Perfect practice makes perfect runs,” Romans said.

She’s been practicing with her horse Dragon, who is also 13 years old.

“We have about the same experience on barrels. We started last summer,” Romans added.

Her mother Casey Johnson says rodeo runs in the family for four generations.

“My dad rode saddle bronc, my brother rode saddle bronc, my grandpa rode saddle bronc. I’ve got rodeo on both sides of my family,” Johnson said.

Johnson says there was just a fascination for Hailey whenever she would come near horses.

“Hailey has had horses since I’ve known, and she just grew up around them too. She just kind of took to it since she was really tiny, she didn’t have any fear and she has just been confident,” Johnson added.

Hailey and other competitors are competing for points that will determine if they make it to the state final.

“This is just another great positive opportunity for youth to hone their athletic skills, but also the vast majority are taking care of one or more horses, they’re partners in competing,” Mandan High School Rodeos Coordinator Ellen Huber said.

“I’m nervous but at the same time, I trust him because I’ve put a lot of work in,” Romans said.

The next rodeo will be held in Waterford City Sept. 11.

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