Nagel headed back to high school rodeo finals with higher expectationsChesney Nagel, a Springfield native who recently finished her sophomore year at Avon, is looking to improve on her first South Dakota High School Rodeo State Finals appearance, where she earned the Rookie Cowgirl award. The state high school rodeo finals starts today in Belle Fourche with the cutting events running through Thursday. The other finals events take place Friday and Saturday and several area cowboys and cowgirls are preparing for the rodeo.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
Chesney Nagel, a Springfield native who recently finished her sophomore year at Avon, is looking to improve on her first South Dakota High School Rodeo State Finals appearance, where she earned the Rookie Cowgirl award.
The state high school rodeo finals starts today in Belle Fourche with the cutting events running through Thursday. The other finals events take place Friday and Saturday and several area cowboys and cowgirls are preparing for the rodeo.
Nagel finished the finals last year with 77 points and said she is looking to finish with even more this year.
“I’m focused on doing the best I can and really trying to reach my goals that I have set,” she said.
Nagel hopes to make it to the short go in all three of her events — barrel racing, goat tying and breakaway roping. Contestants have two runs at each event and the top finishers come back for the short go.
“I’m fairly confident,” Nagel said. “It’s anyone’s game really, but you just have to stay consistent and not try to overdue anything and just stay cool.”
Nagel said she spends more than six hours a day practicing and tries to give each event equal practice time.
“I’ll work on one event really hard one day and switch which one I’m doing hard,” she said. “I do every event each day, but I focus really hard on one.”
Torrie Michels, who just finished her sophomore year at Mitchell High School, is qualified in goat tying and barrel racing. This is her second year at the high school finals rodeo. Last year, she was qualified in goat tying. She will be competing Friday morning and Saturday night.
Michels was a part of Mitchell’s state champion girls’ basketball team in March. She said rodeo can be more stressful at times since it’s more of an individual event. So what makes rodeo so much fun for Michels?
“The competition is always good,” Michels said, “and bonding with my horses. I love to ride.”
Other Mitchell High School students who will be at the finals are Logan and Ethan Parr, Dylan Hart and McKenzie Jendersee.
Logan Parr is in tiedown and team roping, along with Dylan Hart. Ethan Parr is in team roping and Jendersee will also be competing in goat tying.
Chesney’s sister, Shayna, is also competing in this week’s finals. Shayna recently graduated from Avon and is participating in her last state finals.
“It’s a lot different knowing that it’s my last year,” Shayna Nagel said. “I know I can’t go back and do better next year because I’m done after this.”
Shayna Nagel said she is going to compete in rodeos in college at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyo.
The Nagel sisters said they spend a lot of time practicing together and Shayna said she worries more about her sister’s scores than her own.
“We’re so close and we both want each other to do the best,” she said.
Another area cowgirl looking for continued success at the state finals is Wessington Springs’ Cassidy Musick.
Musick finished second in barrel racing at last year’s state finals and competed in pole bending as well.
This year, Musick is competing in barrel racing and breakaway roping.
Musick said this year she is competing on a different horse which is why her events have changed.
“My horse from last year ended up getting arthritis,” she said. “My horse that I’m using in barrels is older. He’s not in good enough shape for pole bending, but I know he’s consistent and will get me good runs.”
Musick said she is hoping to make it to nationals for the second-straight year.
“I usually ride every day and rope for about an hour a couple of days in a week,” she said. “I’m excited for finals and I’m just going to go in and I’m hoping to be up at the top again.”
Joe Bertus, a cowboy from Avon, is another area competitor hoping to finish toward the top of the standings again.
Bertus took third last year in bull riding at the state finals and enters this year’s competition with the most points thus far at 29.
Logan Moody, a cowgirl from Letcher, is hoping to improve on her fifth-place finish in pole bending and Kimball’s Jill Jandreau is looking to repeat as the breakaway roping champion.
“I’m ready to go,” Jandreau said, “ready to get it done.”