COLUMBIA — Casey Chasteen just graduated from Rock Bridge High School on May 31, where rodeo competitions consumed many of her weekends.
She started rodeo when she was 7 and has been involved in it ever since.
The second go performance begins at 7 p.m. Friday. Events for the state finals will continue through Saturday, finishing with the short go starting at 7 p.m. Saturday to decide the winners. The awards ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Sunday. Tickets for adults are $5, and children under the age of 5 are free.
“Both my parents grew up around horses, and they both did rodeo in high school and college,” Chasteen said. “So whenever I was born, I pretty much started off riding.”
Her younger brother Brady, who will be a junior at Rock Bridge, is also involved in rodeo.
Casey and Brady Chasteen are just two of the 71 athletes participating in the 2008 Dodge City Motors Missouri High School Rodeo State Finals. Qualifying cowboys and cowgirls traveled from across the state to compete in their respective events Thursday through Saturday at the Boone County Fairgrounds.
“These are the up-and-coming rodeo competitors — they’re the best of the best,” said Missouri High School Rodeo secretary Sandra Alden. “Some of them have plans to make it to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, and many of them want to compete in the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association), which is the pro rodeo. Probably at least half of them will go on to do rodeo in college.”
Casey Chasteen will be competing in cutting, breakaway roping and goat tying, while her brother will be competing in cutting and calf roping. The pair will compete together in team roping as well. Other events include bull riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc, bareback, barrel racing and pole bending.
The Chasteens are members of Missouri High School Rodeo. They competed in 26 rodeos in 13 different locations this season. Their family made sacrifices that allowed them to be competitive in the sport.
“Rodeo is very much family-oriented, especially for us,” Casey Chasteen said. “Our parents help us a lot with practicing, and we learn a lot from them. They do everything they can for us, so we can do the best that we possibly can.”
To qualify for the state finals, competitors must have earned at least one point in their event during the season. Points are awarded by finishing in the top 10 in an event.
For the state finals, the top 12 in each event after the first go and second go will advance to the short go. The top four in each event will then qualify for the 60th annual National High School Finals Rodeo, which will be held July 20 through July 26 in Farmington, N.M.