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Popko wins first go, second in average at interdistrict rodeo


Last updated 12/8/2006 at Noon

The California High School Rodeo Association held an interdistrict rodeo November 11-12 in Paso Robles, and Fallbrook High School junior Kerry Popko won the first Pole Bending go-round not only among the CHSRA District 8 riders but also for all 128 riders from the various districts.

“This weekend I wanted to get two clean runs and finish first in my district, but I wasn’t expecting to do that good,” Popko said.

Popko finished second in the average, both among District 8 competitors and among all the state’s pole benders. In the second go-round Popko placed sixth in the state and third among District 8 riders.

The first go-round was held November 11 and the second go-round took place November 12. Two sets of poles were placed in the arena, and Popko’s first run was to her right.

Popko, who rides Banjo, had a time of 21.240 seconds for the first go-round. Melanie Miller, who is also from District 8, placed second with a run of 21.357 seconds.

“Pretty good,” Popko said of her go-round win. “It was a really great way to start the rodeo.”

While a tractor drags the ground after every five runs at District 8 rodeos, the dragging occurred after six runs at the interdistrict rodeo. Popko’s first run was the last of the six before the drag.

“The ground was really bad,” Popko said. “It was deep.”

The ground was no obstacle for Banjo. “He’s light on his feet,” Popko said.

Popko’s response to the win in the first performance may have cost her the second go-round. “The first go I celebrated by buying myself a new whip,” she said.

She used the whip for the second go-round, but Banjo seemed startled by the change and slipped during the run. “The saying in rodeo is don’t change anything,” Popko said. “Superstition is a huge thing in rodeo, and I know not to go against it now.”

Popko’s time in the second go-round was 21.557 seconds. “Kind of disappointed,” she said. “In that rodeo it’s like people don’t care if you get second or third.”

Miller won the go-round with a run of 21.363 seconds, which also gave her the win in the average with a two-run time of 42.720 seconds.

“I’m really happy for her because she’s a really talented rider, and I’m really glad to keep it in the district,” Popko said of Miller’s win. “She’s really good and she’s going to be my competition all year.”

The Paso Robles rodeo ended Popko’s streak of go-round and average wins. She had won both go-rounds and the average at both the September and October District 8 rodeos. Popko will receive an additional 27 district points for her go-round and average positions at Paso Robles while Miller earned 29 points.

Freshman Tyla Treasure had a time of 21.491 seconds in the second go-round to place second among District 8 riders. Treasure knocked over a pole in the first go-round and incurred a five-second penalty. “She is really good,” Popko said of Treasure. “She can ride.”

Popko earned $200 for her first-place finish in the first go-round. “It’s a nice $200 to win from that,” she said.

No money was paid for positions in the average, and her sixth-place finish in the second go-round paid $30.


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