MEEKER I Deena Norell, 18, of Meeker, is featured in the July issue of Spin to Win Rodeo magazine in a featured article about breakaway roping titled “Whiz Kids.“ In addition, she will be competing in the National High School Finals Rodeo this week.
Norell, a 2014 graduate of Meeker High School, is one of nine young rodeo stars between 15 and 18 years of age featured in the article. Seven of the nine are from the West including Texas, Colorado, Kansas and Utah, with two hailing from east of the Mississippi River, in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The magazine, which is published in Boulder, Colo., and is owned by Cruz Bay Publishing, interviewed Norell in a question and answer format.
Your biggest win: Winning state the last couple of years in Wyoming. At nationals, I was high call but I didn’t win it, but I ended up eighth. That’s an accomplishment. At nationals, in the short go, you can see my dad excited. That meant a lot.
Influence: My dad, Dee. He’s always helped me to get better, and he’s always worked really hard and that made me want to work hard.
Career plans: I plan to go to Casper (Wyo.) College and major in engineering, and go on to a university and rodeo there and get my bachelor’s degree and find a job and try to rodeo as much as I can.
Best horse: His name was Badger, and I rode him for seven years. He was my breakaway horse and I’d tie goats on him a little bit. He died last July, but he was super easy to to ride and ran really hard and had a lot of try.
Favorite place to rope: At my house. No matter if it’s good or bad, you can still back into the box and take the pressure off and turn it around. My dad’s always here; he’s always helping me and he’s always making it fun, but serious, at the same time.
Best piece of advice: Just let things happen; don’t try too hard. When you over-think things, that’s when it goes bad.
Norell has also earned a position on the Wyoming state National High School Rodeo Team and will have travelled with fellow teammates to Rock Springs, Wyo., last week to compete at the 66th annual National high School Finals Rodeo in breakaway roping and goat tying.
Featuring more than 1,500 contestants from 42 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia, the NHSFR is the world’s largest rodeo.
In addition to competing for more than $200,000 in prizes, contestants also compete for more than $350,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named a NHSFR National Champion.
To earn that title, contestants must finish in the top 20, based on their combined times/scores in the first two rounds — to advance to Saturday evening’s final round. National champions will then be determined based on their three-round combined scores/times.