by Kerstin Auer —

The BC High School Rodeo rode into town May 5 to 7 for their first event of the 2023 season, and the Herald had a chance to catch up with Myranda Mackenzie, BC High School Rodeo Queen, and Macey Freemantle, BC High School Rodeo Vice President, who both also competed. 

It was a successful first weekend that included all the rodeo staples, starting with cutting and cow horse on Friday and followed by junior and senior barrels as well as breakaway and ribbon roping, steer wrestling, and chute dogging on Saturday. And how does being back in the saddle for a new season feel?

“It feels so good, all the horses are fresh and ready and we’re all ready to rodeo.” said Mackenzie. 

“I can’t even describe it, it’s so good, honestly. The friends, the family, the people, it’s awesome,” added Freemantle.

The BC High School Rodeo Association is split in two regions – north and south – with Merritt being part of the south region. The top four competitors from each event get a chance to participate in the National finals in Wyoming, while the top five also qualify for the Canadian Finals, held in Swift Current, MB this year. Prizes and scholarships are the reward for hard work throughout the rodeo season.

Rodeo does not stop after graduation, however, there are several options for those who still feel called to compete in the circuit. The BC Rodeo Association offers a home for competitors of all ages and Pro Rodeo is an option for those 16 years or older. Plus, there is College Rodeo, with the Canadian College Rodeo Association for those who attend college, university, or trade schools. “I think college rodeo is what’s next.” noted Freemantle.

But for now, both Freemantle and Mackenzie can look back at a successful first event of the season, with different highlights for both of them. 

“I roped a 1.9 in the breakaway so I’m still on Cloud Nine. That’s my fastest time out of all my breakaway roping,” shared Freemantle. 

“I just had ACL surgery so just being back and rodeoing in general is a really big highlight of my year so far.” added Mackenzie. 

A number of local rodeo athletes took part in the Merritt stop of the BC High School Rodeo circuit, putting up impressive numbers for their hometown crowd.