Nebraska Jr. High Finals Rodeo Happening this Week in Albion

Nebraska Jr. High Finals Rodeo Happening this Week in Albion
May 15th, 2024 | Rebel Sjeklocha

The Nebraska Junior High Rodeo Association is gearing up for its state finals this Thursday and Friday, May 16-17. Student athletes from across the state will compete in Albion in 13 different events.

At the junior high level, some events are modified to ensure athletes are given a chance to learn proper technique before they make the step up into high school rodeo. For instance, instead of steer wrestling, athletes compete in “chute dogging.” This modification still gives athletes the opportunity to practice the technique of wrestling a steer to the ground, but does not require them to jump off of their horses.

Rodeo committee member and volunteer Dakota Peters is excited to host the Jr. High Finals on the eastern side of the state.

“We have some amazing facilities here in Albion and Boone County,” said Peters. “We are excited to show off our facilities, but also our volunteers that love to see the rodeo lifestyle succeed.”

As for the athletes, they are just as excited. Emerson Thorberg, an eighth-grader at Mullen Public Schools competes in five events: pole bending, barrel racing, breakaway roping, team roping, and ribbon roping. She says her favorite part of rodeo is seeing her friends and showcasing her hard work.

“I get to see people I know and get to show people what I have been working on,” said Thorberg.

Fellow eighth-grader and multi-event athlete Kelsten Lindner-Best of Broken Bow is busy preparing for his events on both ends of the arena. Though the roughstock events are his favorite, he says he also enjoys roping.

“I prepare for the roughstock riding by riding my buck machine and spur board, working out, and I rope every night,” he said.

Performances will start at 9am both Thursday and Friday at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

Leading up to state finals, the Nebraska Junior High Rodeo Association hosted five regular season rodeos. The top four student athletes at the finals will qualify for the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Des Moines, Iowa the last week of June.

Listen to our interviews with Emerson Thorberg, Kelsten Lindner-Best and Dakota Peters here:

Emerson Thorberg:

Kelsten Lindner-Best:

Dakota Peters:


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