Editor's note: This story was updated on Wednesday, June 14, to note that Whitehall's Brooke Smith also is going to nationals. She placed third in cow horse with a 70 (129) score.
The road to Gillette, Wyoming, for the National High School Finals Rodeo will include a talented group from southwestern Montana, including three who live within a 70-mile stretch from Melrose to Dell.
Dillon Hahnkamp, who was crowned the 2016 champion in tie-down roping at the Northern Finals Rodeo last fall in Butte, led the way in the same event at this past weekend’s Montana High School Rodeo Association Finals in Baker.
The Melrose resident came away with 141 points in the event, followed by Brody Grebe (Melstone), Quentin Wheeler (Baker) and Brady Boyce (Lewistown).
The recent graduate of Beaverhead County High School will be joined by Hailey Garrison, from Glen.
Garrison earned her trip to Gillette by finishing fourth in the goat-tying standings.
The top four finishers in each event from this past weekend’s rodeo in Baker, earned the trip to the Nationals.
Georgia Orahood (Malta) led the goat tying event with 134 points, followed by Billinigs’ Rylee Anderson, Bozeman’s Meghan McGinley and Garrison.
Garrison, who just completed her junior year at Dillon, helped lead the Lady Beavers to a third-place finish at last month’s Class A State Track and Field Championships in Laurel. It was the first time that the girls’ track and field team from the school has won a trophy at the state meet.
Farther down I-15 is Kaden Lappe, who lives in Dell.
Lappe led the way in steer wrestling, edging Manhattan’s Clay Johnson by three points.
Lappe also placed fourth in the standings for the boys’ all-around leaders. Miles City’s Houston Brown led the boy’s all-around, while Opal Harkins (Billings) led the girls’ all around.
Whitehall’s Katlynn Wagner also advanced in a girls’ cutting, an event in which 11 points separated the Top 4 finishers.
Harkins led the way in that event with 71 points, with Forsyth’s Laney Vance (66 points), Manhattan’s Caydee Johnson (61) and Wagner (60) close behind.
Whitehall's Brooke Smith is going to nationals, with a 70 (129) score and a third place in cowhorse.
The National High School Finals Rodeo will be held July 17-23.