Pierceland girl wins big at high school rodeo finals

Briar Gonie and Spud topped all barrel racing and pole bending competitors at the provincial high school rodeo finals.

By Terry Villeneuve

A 16-year-old cowgirl from northwestern Saskatchewan walked away with most of the hardware following the Saskatchewan High School Rodeo Finals June 3-5 in Martensville.

Briar Gonie of Pierceland, a Grade 10 student, won the Sr Barrel Racing and Sr Pole Bending events as well as the Rookie of the Year title.

She says it was a year she’ll never forget.

“It’s my first year in high school rodeo and most of the rodeos are a long ways away,” she said. “The first one I went to was in August at Big Beaver, which was way down south. I had to shut off my cell phone because it was picking up a U.S. tower.”

Other high school rodeos included Kennedy, Rockglen, Beechy, Fort Qu’Appelle, Arcola, Herbert, Weyburn and Martensville.

At the finals showdown, Gonie was entered in four events – barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and breakaway roping.

“The first day, on the Friday, I did all my events. On Saturday the same thing and then on Sunday for the finals (top 10) I made it back in all my events,” she said adding her horse Spud, had to run twice every day. “I have another horse I use for the other two events.”

When all the times were tabulated, Gonie found herself a double-winner, but more importantly a qualification to the National High School Finals Rodeo this summer in Gillette, Wyoming.

“I wanted to make it to Nationals and race in the States… I kinda wanted to have that experience and now I’ve made it so that’s great,” she added.

Gonie has also qualified for the Canadian High School Finals Rodeo this August in Virden, Manitoba.

She credits a lot of her success to her horse Spud, also 16 years of age.

“My sister Tifarah won the rookie buckle with high school rodeo in 2003 with Spud and now that she’s quit barrel racing I started runner her horse and we’ve been working pretty good together,” Gonie said. “When you look at him he doesn’t look… he’s a pretty small horse. I think he just has a lot of heart and he really likes doing what he does.”

Last weekend at the Meadow Lake Indoor Rodeo, Gonie and Spud raised more than a few eyebrows as the two ran the cloverleaf barrel pattern in just over 13 seconds – the fastest time among all barrel from entries.

“I just mainly go to SBRA events and not involved too much with other rodeos,” she said. “My goal this year is to take it one rodeo at a time and do well at Nationals.”

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