“Rodeo is an important sport for so many reasons. In short, it helps to keep the western tradition alive. There is a huge family aspect to rodeo, which I feel is very essential. A few of the things it teaches the kids are to be responsible for their own success, how to be mentally tough and competitive, and to have good sportsmanship. It allows them to be part of a team while competing individually”. The quote comes from Niobrara County High School Rodeo Team coach Skye Martin. This year, she coaches five girls that include Sadie Sturman, Peyton Kottwitz, Kayla Pena, Kylie Strauch, and Rylee Matthews. Martin says the team does have short term goals, “to qualify for the National High School Rodeo Finals (NHSR Finals) in July” and long term goals, “to get a scholarship and rodeo in college”. The Niobrara County High School Rodeo Team had the chance to participate in six rodeos during the fall season and for the spring season will have seventeen rodeos to partake in. Currently, Kottwitz is the only ranked member on the team, having attained 5th in Reined Cowhorse.
On Saturday, March 18 the girls will hold their annual Rodeo Dinner Fundraiser. Funds from the dinner, per Martin, will go towards clinics, entry fees, NHRS Finals traveling money should they qualify, and $500.00 scholarship(s) that seniors on the team choosing to attend college get. In addition to the dinner, there is also a Rifle Raffle for a Glock 43 9mm pistol, live auction for a Gary Johnson bit or spurs, 50/50 heads/tail game, and a silent auction. “We have a Facebook page that shows the silent auction items. It is the Niobrara County High School Rodeo Team Fundraiser, people might like to see what we have donated” says Martin. The dinner will take place at the Fairgrounds beginning at 6pm. Martin adds that tickets are sold at the door or can be pre-purchased from herself or one of the girls.