HURRICANE – There’s a lot of money in professional rodeo competition. But there’s a lot of love and effort when it comes to the high school kids.
The Dixie Six, a three weekend (six days of rodeo Nov 10-11, 17-18 and 24-25) competition capping off the fall rodeo season for Utah’s high schoolers, has begun at the Washington County Fairgrounds, with competitors from around the state vying for state championships.
“This event’s been going on, like 70-80 years,” arena announcer Jay Holcomb said. “We’ve had about 130 barrel racers, 130 pole benders, probably 120 team ropers … so we get a lot of kids that come from around the state.”
Other events at the Dixie Six include bareback broncs, bull riding, goat tying, cutting, breakaway roping, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, tiedown roping and even shooting events like rifle and trap shoots.
The fall high school rodeo season runs from mid-August to late November, with the Dixie Six wrapping up the fall season. Competitors come from all over Utah, with the rural areas well-represented, including Vernal and Roosevelt, Panguitch and Morgan, Enterprise and Grantsville. But some of the suburban-type areas are represented as well, including St. George, Lehi, Cedar City and Wasatch.
Two of the top barrel racers in the nation are Dixie Rodeo Club sisters McKenna and Macee McAllister, both competing at this week’s Dixie Six.
The Dixie club will have more than 20 members competing at the Dixie Six, and Cedar’s club will also be well-represented, including national rodeo qualifier Kash Cattoor. Kaytlyn Miller is a standout from Enterprise, another club that is well-represented at the Dixie Six.
Being a rodeo competitor is not easy, but the sport generally attracts dedicated athletes.
“The average grade-point score is a 3.84 for high school rodeo kids,” Holcomb said. “They don’t get enough credit, because they’re the ones that have to get up at 5:30 every morning to feed these horses and take care of these animals. And then they have to practice every day, just like you would in basketball, baseball or anything else. So really, it’s a great sport, not only for family and kids, but it’s good, moral, down-home western values.”
There are two seasons for high school rodeo – fall and spring – with state champions crowned in both seasons.
After the Dixie Six, UHSRA competition resumes in the spring, starting with the Spikers Club Rodeo in Ogden in early April. The UHSRA state finals will be held in Heber City June 4-9.
What: Dixie Six Rodeo
When: Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 10-11, 17-18 and 24-25 | Fridays 3-10 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Cutting and reining cow horse events begin at 9 a.m. all three Fridays
Shooting events begin at 8 a.m. all three Fridays
Where: The fairgrounds at Washington County Regional Park, 5500 W. 700 South, Hurricane
Shooting events will be held in the Shooting Sports Park adjacent to the fairgrounds, and are Friday only beginning at 8 a.m.
Admission: $6 per person each weekend; $20 for the entire family