By Vanessa Broadbent
When the National High School Finals Rodeo take place in Rock Springs, Wyoming in July, Ali Lantz, a Grade 12 student at Southern Okanagan Secondary School, will be representing British Columbia.
Lantz has competed with the BC High School Rodeo Association for three years and now, in the last year she is eligible to qualify, she’ll be heading to the largest rodeo in the world, where she’ll be one of over 1,600 competitors from 43 states and five Canadian provinces.
“I think I’m the most excited about the fact that I’ve been trying at this national rodeo high school qualification for three years now and on my last year of high school in which I’m allowed to do this type of rodeo, I got it,” she said.
To be able to qualify for nationals, competitors need to place in the top four in their event. Lantz qualified in two: reigned cow horse and breakaway roping.
In Breakaway roping, competitors need to rope a calf in under 30 seconds. Lantz’s quickest time is 2.5 seconds.
Reigning cow horse, which Lantz is currently the B.C. champion of, is a little more technical.
“I perform a reigning pattern which is a series of small performances that I do with her in one, three or four minute performance,” she explained. “Basically I’m performing a lot of circles and practicing flying lead changes. I’m demonstrating what she can do.
“I have to circle a cow and take control of it and as easy as that looks to some people, it’s really not.”
Lantz started riding when she was four years old and hasn’t looked back since.
She started out doing show jumping and English horse riding, which she learned from her mother, and started rodeo and speed events when she was ten.
“What got me into this was the adrenalin. I loved the speed, I loved the thrill of becoming the top of roping and barrel racing as fast as you possibly can and it’s all about what you can do in the competition area rather than just doing it casually.”
Now Lantz is asking the public to help her make it to Wyoming. She’s hoping to raise over $1,000 to help cover her costs.
“My fundraising around this is to have donations put forth, any amount of money towards my travels down to the national high school finals and it’s basically going to just be out of generosity.”
Anyone interested in helping Lantz reach her fundraising goal can contact her mother at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National High School Finals Rodeo takes place from July 15-21.
Soon after, from July 27-30, Lantz will also compete at the Canadian High School Rodeo finals in Merritt, where she’ll compete in heading with her heeling team roping partner Vanessa Caverly, a Grade 10 student at Penticton’s Princess Margaret Secondary School, who is also competing in Wyoming.
Osoyoos’ Nevada Dynneson will also be competing in both rodeos and so will Keianna James from Oliver, who competed last year as well.
“For us kids that are this young, to make it to a high level like this, especially at the high school level where we can get promoted to the college level and eventually the pro level when we’re older, it’s a big deal for us because we can put that in our books and say ‘we qualified for this’,” Lantz said.