Competing at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming, on July 19, Dolores High School senior Dara Suckla left little doubt as to her status as one of the top breakaway ropers in the country.
Of the 87 contestants who competed in the second go of Breakaway Roping at the prestigious high school rodeo event, Suckla placed 18th overall with a time of 2.87 seconds in spite of failure of her steer in the first of the event’s two rounds.
“It was pretty crazy, there are so many kids there and so many girls that you can learn from,” said Suckla when asked about her experience in Rock Springs. “I was very happy with the way that I did. My first round didn’t go as I planned, but my second round, I came out and I did better.”
While in Rock Springs to compete in the National High School Finals Rodeo, Suckla also competed in four smaller side rodeos and took top honors in breakaway roping in one of those events.
The Mancos resident connected with many of the top high school rodeo athletes from around the country while forging bonds that will last a lifetime.
“I’ll remember all of the great connections that I made and all of the work that I put in,” Suckla said. “I’ll remember the support that I had from my parents to take me to such a high level and help me get there.”
While Suckla’s name was placed in the National High School Finals Rodeo’s results, she was careful to give credit to her horse, Mighty Mouse.
“(Mighty Mouse) did really good,” Suckla said. “When we went (to Wyoming), we were concerned that he would get a little hot because there was so much going on. He ended up being very calm, and he did a great job.”
With the high school rodeo season now behind her, Suckla said she will compete in several local rodeos, including a rodeo in Ignacio later this month, before returning to the high school rodeo circuit in September.
The runner-up in the breakaway roping event at the New Mexico State High School Rodeo earlier this summer, Suckla acknowledged that it will take an impressive set of performances next season to eclipse this season’s results.
The hardworking cowgirl is confident, however, that with practice, she can continue to excel in the sport that she loves while building on her recent success.
“High School rodeos start up again in September and I’m going to try to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo again,” Suckla said. “That would be my goal.”
If Suckla’s performances this season are any indication, local rodeo fans can expect one of the top local cowgirls to return to Rock Springs, Wyoming, next summer, and perhaps, with a bit of luck, come away with a National High School Finals Rodeo title.