It was a year ago when Prince Albert’s Kolby Skene got his first taste of the National Junior High School Rodeo Finals in Lebanon, Tenn.
“It rained a lot that week and I remember that it was a long drive to get there,” Skene said.
“There were competitors from Grades 6-8 and they were from Australia, Canada and the United States. I had never been at an event with that many people and such tough competition, so it was a great learning experience for me.”
The Grade 8 student at St. Francis is now gearing up for his second appearance at the national event, as he’ll be in Huron, S.D. for the 2018 finals from June 24-30.
“It’s a great way to finish off my Grade 8 year and it’s a lot closer to home,” Skene said.
“I’m hoping to build off of everything that I learned a year go in Tennessee and improve my on my results during my second trip there.”
Skene, 13, is coming off of winning the Saskatchewan male junior high school all-around title earlier this month following a strong showing at the provincial final in Martensville.
He captured the event crowns in the chute dogging and breakaway roping events and finished in third place in the team roping event with partner Landon LeClare of Melfort.
He also had a fourth place result in the ribbon roping competition alongside Ashley Weber of Manor.
“That was a pretty awesome weekend as I was able to accomplish everything that I set out to do,” Skene said.
“I was really happy with how well I did, especially in the chute dogging event, as I averaged a time of eight seconds over the course of the three days.”
LeClare and Weber will both be competing in South Dakota alongside Skene, who is slated to compete in all four disciplines that he excelled in at the provincials.
“We head down to Huron on Friday and the schedule actually works out pretty well this year,” Skene said. “It’s spaced out nicely over course of the week, so I’m able to plan things out over the course of the four events.
“My goal is to try and make it to the short go round. The top 20 in each event make it there and I finished five spots back in the roping event last year. I feel like I’ve been doing really well in that event this season and I’ve been really focusing on hitting my marks in practice.”
After his trip to South Dakota, Skene will then prepare for the Canadian High School Rodeo Finals, which will take place in Merritt, B.C. from July 27-29.
“It’s a little bit of a different atmosphere there compared to event in the States, but it’s still a really strong group and you have to be on top of your game,” Skene said.