High school rodeo champ returns to podium

Pierceland’s Briar Gonie and her horse Spud

by Sabine Gibbins

The cowgirl has done it again.

Briar Gonie of Pierceland took top honours once again in the Saskatchewan High School Rodeo Association’s 2012 competition, and returned to Meadow Lake last weekend for some more action.

Gonie once again clinched the title of Senior Pole Bending Champion, as well as the coveted title of All-Around Championship Cowgirl, not to mention coming in second place for senior barrel racing.

The competition took place May 31-June 3 in Martensville.

And now, the 17-year-old rodeo champion is heading to Rock Springs, Wyoming for the National High School Rodeo Finals, to take place this summer from July 15-21.

“It’s apparently the biggest high school rodeo ever,” she said. “I am so excited to go and experience it. I’m sure it will be a lot of fun.”

She will then travel to Virden, MB for the Canadian High School/Junior High School Rodeo High School Rodeo Aug. 1-4.

She’ll bring along her horse, Spud, which she has been riding the past three years.

“Spud used to be my sister’s horse,” Gonie explained. “She was a bit shy and unsure when I first started riding her, because she wasn’t used to me, but she has come to get used to me now.”

This is the second year Gonie has participated in the provincial rodeo championship.

In 2011, the northwestern Saskatchewan teen took home the hardware for the senior barrel racing and senior pole bending events, as well as the Rookie of the Year title.

Gonie said she owes a lot of the success she’s been having to persistent hard work and dedication, and a clear passion for the sport.

“I think as long as you like it, you’ll be a success and good at what you do,” she commented.

Gonie has loved riding horses and rodeo events since she was a small girl, when she got her first pony.

“I can’t really remember when I started to love riding, all I remember is that I loved riding my pony,” she said. “My sister, Tifarah, always rode horses, and I grew up kind of wanting to be like her, I think.”

While she can’t pinpoint one part of the rodeo experience she likes the best, Gonie said she takes nothing for granted.

“I just love it, you know?” she commented. “I just love being around horses and it’s always fun to compete in rodeos. You get to meet people from all over the world.”

Support definitely comes from her family, including dad Victor Gonie, who usually watches his daughter in rodeo competitions.

“She just loves being a part of it, and she’s good at it, too,” he said.

After the Meadow Lake Stampede Association’s rodeo June 8, Gonie was off to Cold Lake, AB for a competition there.

And there is no sign of stopping.

“I’m going to do it as long as I can,” she said. “I love being around the horses and can’t think of myself doing anything else.”

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