Two Oakdale residents made the trip to Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2018 National Finals Rodeo earlier this month. Kelsey Cadwell and Ryle Smith each made the trip for to 60th annual event. Both had success on the grandest stage of them all.
Cadwell, a 17-year-old senior at Oakdale High School, competed in the Junior National Finals Rodeo where she placed first overall in barrel racing with her trusty quarter horse, Jackson.
“It’s intimidating being there, because you are going against the best in the world and everyone worked so hard to be there,” said Cadwell.
Going against 71 other young girls from around the United States, Cadwell raced three rounds and her fastest time came on day two with a 13.642.
“I was very excited and proud of Jackson, too,” said Cadwell.
To reach the finals she qualified in June at Red Bluff, California where she placed fourth overall.
“I was disappointed in not earning a top three finish there but was excited that I qualified,” Cadwell shared.
With an impressive 2018 under her belt, 2019 is filling up fast as well. In January Cadwell will be competing in Chicago and then will be heading to Fort Worth, Texas for while in May she will be graduating from Oakdale High School.
The teen said there are many people contributing to her success, as she has a network of people that helped her reach her career highs this calendar year. She thanked her mentor Lyndalee Whipple, Marilyn Camarillo, Kelly Vella, Erin Ricotti, Rob Dugo and Premier Equine Center.
For resident Ryle Smith, who is a standout in tie down roping, he placed sixth overall at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in tie down and placed fifth overall for All Around Cowboy. During 2018 he earned a total of $203,408.
In Vegas, Smith competed in 10 rounds of action. In round won he finished sixth with a time of 8.70; round two he tied for third at 8.00; round three he shaved his time down to 7.50; in round four he placed second on the day at 7.10. Competing in round five he placed fifth at 8.90; round six he placed sixth at 8.80; in round seven Smith finished at 17.60; round eight he bounced back at 7.70 and placed seventh; round nine he posted an 18.60 and in the final round he finished sixth with an 8.10.
Smith is a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. He was not available for comment on his Las Vegas performance by press time.