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Olds-area youth qualifies for high school rodeo nationals

Rance Coates, 15, and his partner Steele Duncan of Athabasca qualified for the National High School Rodeo finals in Coates' rookie high school year

OLDS — Olds-area resident Rance Coates has qualified for the National High School Rodeo finals in his rookie high school year.

This year, the National High School Rodeo finals  will be held July 14-20 in   Wyoming.

Coates, 15, and his partner, Steele Duncan of Athabasca qualified for that prestigious rodeo during the Alberta High School Finals Rodeo, held May 29-June 2 in Stettler.

“We made the provincials, which had to be top 12 and you have to be top four to make it to nationals,” Rance said during an interview with the Albertan.

Coates came from a long way back in the standings.

Ashley Coates, Rance’s mom, says initially he was 12th in his district (central Alberta), 34th overall, but by Championship Sunday he was in second place as a header.

“He and his partner had an amazing weekend. Everything just clicked,” Ashley said.

“Just practise pays off,” Rance said.

Last year, Rance was named the Canadian champion junior all-around cowboy during the 2023 Canadian High School Finals, held in Brandon, Manitoba.

Ashley is excited for the competition her son will face.

She said people from other countries will be there.

Rance was asked if the fact that it’s nationals, the best of the best, is intimidating.

“No. Just another rodeo, I guess,” he said. “It’s going to be fun; good competition.”

“There’s nothing you need to practise? There’s nothing you need to improve?” Rance was asked.

“I practise every day,” he said.

So far, Rance has not sustained any injuries.

“Knock on wood,” he said with a smile.

His mom said that’s because team roping is not as dangerous as roughstock events like saddlebronc or bullriding.

“So I shouldn’t say that nothing can happen, because it can. But rough stock’s more ‘am I going to get hurt’ kind of situation,” she said.

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