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Hansen, Kent Take On National Rodeo
6-20 OAK JR Rodeo
Youth rodeo standout Wyatt Hansen is bound for the Junior High Nationals in New Mexico after nabbing All-Around Champion status at the California Junior High Finals. - photo by Photo Contributed

Why settle for two legs beneath you when you could have four?

It’s simple math, and Oakdale youngsters Wyatt Hansen and Travis Kent have reaped the benefits of the equation during spectacular careers atop their mounts in youth rodeo competition.

Both shined at the 2012 California Junior High State Rodeo Division Finals on May 18, 19 and 20 to qualify for Monday’s 2012 National Junior High Finals Rodeo on June 25 in Gallup, New Mexico. The boys will square off against qualifiers from across the United States and Canada in a quest to snare medal honors from the pinnacle of junior high rodeo.

“It’s a dream come true,” Wyatt’s mother, Kelleigh Hansen said on Monday. “Our family has rodeo’d and we know it’s a lot of hard work and serious dedication where you learn to respect your animal and the people around you.

“With Oakdale being the cowboy capital of the world, rodeo sees the same type of support that baseball and football get.”

Hansen made his mark at the Junior High rodeo scene in 2011 when he captured ‘Rookie of the Year’ honor from the state finals as a sixth grader. A year later, he made sure no one forgot his name.

The great-grandson of saddle bronc rider Joe Silvers, grandson of cowboy Tim Hansen and son of 24-year professional cowboy Tim Hansen Jr. erupted for championships in both goat-tying/ribbon roping and joined fellow Oakdale cowboy, Kent, on a third place team roping tandem. His finishes were good enough to lock the prize saddle and honor as 2012 All-Around State Champion.

Hansen and Kent will join forces for team roping on Monday at around 9 a.m. for the first-go. They get a second shot at the Red Rock Park arena on June 29 at around 7 p.m. Hansen’s schedule also includes goat-tying on June 26 and 28 and ribbon roping with Ripon teammate Kassidi Hofman on June 27.

“It’s tough competition at Junior Nationals,” Oakdale High Rodeo Advisor Karen Serpa said. “You see the cream of the crop from each state.”

High School Rodeo

District 5 competitors from Oakdale High escaped the 2012 California High School Rodeo Association State Finals with three potential qualifications to the High School Nationals Finals Rodeo at Gillette, Wyoming on July 9.

Tanner Kent joined Turlock teammate Case Hirdes for fourth place honors in team roping while Terrilyn Balaam nabbed fourth in breakaway roping to also qualify. The Oakdale pair could also see participation from longtime youth rodeo standout Colton Farquer, who struggled to sixth in tie-down roping, but could see a National appearance after higher place-winners have withdrawn from the Nationals competition list.

Other top-10 state medal winners included Shae Serpa (seventh-pole bending, eighth-goat tying).

“At this point in the year you see the kids move on and you see a lot of really good kids ready to come up for next year’s state rodeo,” Karen Serpa said. “I think they will do really well in the finals next year.”