McNeill sweeps bareback at rodeo championship
by Natalie Tripp
Jun 17, 2008 | 1179 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ethan McNeill rides to a first place victory on a bronc bareback during the Utah High School Rodeo
Association State Finals last week in Heber.<br>-- photo courtesy of James Sain
Ethan McNeill rides to a first place victory on a bronc bareback during the Utah High School Rodeo Association State Finals last week in Heber.
-- photo courtesy of James Sain
slideshow
The Utah High School Rodeo Association State Finals attracted young riders and ropers from every corner of the state last week, including local rider Ethan McNeill who swept the competition in the bareback event garnering a first place finish and an invitation to the national competition.

McNeill went into the championships ranked second, and after tying for first in his first round and winning the second ride with the highest score in the event of 77, the Grantsville senior was tied for first. He had the highest average after finishing the shortround of the top 10 riders, which bumped McNeill into a sound first place finish.

McNeill will be heading to the National High School Rodeo in Farmington, N.M. at the end of July, but that isn't anything new for the young cowboy. McNeill was part of the Utah rodeo team that won the national competition in 2006. He just missed qualifying for nationals last year by five points, but went on to win the Silver State International Rodeo in Fallon, Nev.

"The Utah team has won the national competition two years in a row now, and I'm really excited to be headed back to help defend the title," McNeill said.

A member of the Grantsville High School Rodeo Club all four years, vice president of the club for two years and a professional competitor, McNeill finds himself bouncing around the country every weekend for different rodeos. The weekend before state he competed in California and then rushed back to hit the Deseret Peak Stampede/PRCA rodeo where he placed 5th.

McNeill said he wasn't stressed or nervous about the state competition, which may have helped him in the long run.

"I went into this just like it was just another rodeo," he said. "Sure, it's my last chance in high school rodeo, but I've always told myself that there's always something better to look forward to, like the pros."

The newly graduated senior has been offered a full ride scholarship to Arizona State University to ride on their rodeo team, but McNeill has yet to make any commitments although he will be attending college in the fall.

For his win McNeill received a saddle, a buckle, a pair of wrangler jeans, three saddle conchos, three plaques and three different coats for event champion, high point and national qualifier awards.

Grantsville also had another rider place at the competition and qualify for nationals. Breezie Anderson, 16, finished third in barrel racing.

Anderson, who just finished her sophomore year at Grantsville High School, qualified and competed at the state competition as a freshman but didn't qualify for nationals.

ntripp@tooeletranscript.com

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
report abuse...

Readers are solely responsible for the content of the comments they post here. Comments do not necessarily reflect the opinion or approval of the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin. Abusive comments and users are subject to removal without notification.