Local Student Wins Big!
Colter Bennet of Malad, Idaho, placed third at the 17th Annual National Junior High Finals Rodeo this past June. He and his family traveled the 4,084 mile round trip to Perry, Georgia on the East Coast to cheer Colter on in the Steer Dogging Event. Competing in 14 qualifying rodeos throughout Utah and the State Finals prior to the Nationals, Colter, now 14 years old, qualified in Chute (Steer) Dogging. He earned the title of Utah State Champion Chute Dogger. Colter also competes in the Tie Down, Saddle Bronc Steer Riding and Team Roping events.
Colter placed third out of 132 contestants after two preliminary rounds making it into the top 20 where his time of 2.98 seconds was just 0.47 seconds more that the winning time of 2.51 seconds! Coached by Olin Hannum of Malad, who is a National Finals Rodeo Qualifier himself, said, “I’ve been every impressed with Colter this summer. Many times I have come home and he has the steers in and is practicing chute dogging all by himself without any help at all! That really shows dedication and determination.”
Colter’s dad, Hadley Bennett, said, “The amount of work one puts in is the amount that comes out in the end. Colter is very determined!.” His mom, Haylee added, “Colter started Steer Dogging in the Sixth Grade. This is a family effort and we are all together on this.” Colter’s 17 year old sister, Preslie, is a rodeo competitor as well in the Barrel Racing and Break Away events. She qualified for the High School National Finals this year as well. Little sister, Macie, who is 7 years old proudly competes in Barrel Racing and will surely be in the winner’s circle in due time.
When asked, “What did you learn from this experience?” Colter answered, “ To succeed, family is most important! And a whole lot of continual hard work. I practice every day to get to the top. This has been a valuable experience for me.”
Colter also mentioned that the mental challenges were most difficult.
At a recent special practice on August 23, Coach Hannum invited the young men of Ward 5 to try their hand at Steer Dogging. They personally witnessed the trials and tribulations of their strength and determination at laying a large steer with horns down on the ground. Coach Hannum demonstrated the technique several times for the young men and made it look easy. At the conclusion of the practice everyone gathered together for closing prayer lead by Colter.
The National Junior High Finals Rodeo is the World’s Largest Junior High Rodeo with some 1,200 contestants from 43 U.S. States, 5 Canadian Provinces, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand who competed for more than $80,000 and more than $200,000 in college scholarships. Students from the State of Idaho included Rio Curtis of Gooding who placed 5th in the finals, Holden Tubbs of Malad who placed 17th, Kade Hall of Homedale and Lane Bingham of Preston.
As the rodeo season winds down some for the winter, Colter continues to practice steer dogging along with playing football on the Malad High School 8th Grade Dragons Team where he plays running back and defensive end.