It may be a some time before Cache Valley plays host to a high school rodeo after Friday.
The Bridgerland Rodeo Club is prepared to host a 2019 stop for the Utah High School Rodeo Association, but the future is a bit murky. Cost and low numbers are the biggest factor.
“I don’t know if this is the end, but I know there won’t be one next year,” said Chad Poppleton, a Hyrum resident and father of two current members. “... We hope to break even this year.”
Poppleton said it costs about $30,000 to put on the annual high school rodeo. The club runs a food booth at the fair each year to raise money, get local sponsors to help, as well as businesses. Logan has played host to a rodeo each spring for high school competitors for decades.
Action will begin Friday morning with cow cutting at 8 a.m. The rodeo will begin at 4 p.m. and is free to the public at the Cache County Fairgrounds rodeo arena in Logan.
Before the action begins, Bridgerland seniors will be honored, as well as long time supporter Gary Jensen of Millville.
“Gary Jensen is a good old guy, a legend in the valley,” Poppleton said. “He is just a great guy that is generous with his time and shares his knowledge and horses with kids. He has a legacy of helping and being our arena director.”
The Bridgerland Club has six members competing this year. Those athletes are Shaylee Poppleton (breakaway roping, pole bending, team roping), Kirby Jenson (breakaway roping, team roping), Morgan Davis (breakaway roping, barrel racing), Jarin James (steer wrestling, trap shoot), Kaden Holt (team roping) and Kaleb Poppleton (rifle shoot, trap shoot). James is currently ranked 15th in the state in trap shoot.
There will be approximately 500 participants at Friday’s rodeo. In Utah, contestants travel all over the state each weekend, usually competing at two rodeos. Tremonton is hosting a rodeo on Saturday this weekend.
It takes a big commitment to travel all over the Beehive State to compete.
“You need to love doing it,” Chad Poppleton said. “It’s a lifestyle. Events last a few seconds and you practice a lot for those few seconds. In my opinion, it is the most challenging and difficult sport. You have to master more than yourself, as there are equines and cows involved.”
The Bridgerland Club has seen its numbers shrink as some high school competitors in Cache County have elected to go north of the border and compete in Idaho. Poppleton understands the decision as the cost to travel can be challenging. He called everyone that competes in rodeo “one big family” and they wish each other the best, no matter which state they compete in.