A state Champlin barrel racer
Cassidy Champlin has good reason to be excited about her first trip to the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo. After all, the recent Douglas High School graduate and Nevada state champion barrel racer is riding a hot streak in which she logged six wins in seven rodeos covering April, May and June.
Champlin also knows all too well that the 67th annual high school national rodeo will be a whole different story. The event, which continues through July 18, is showcasing more than 1,500 participants representing 42 state, five Canadian provinces and Australia.
“I’m real excited, but I’m also pretty nervous,” Champlin said.
She came into the 2014-15 Nevada high school season with some high hopes — and aboard a new horse, Casadys Cash n Fame.
“I bought my horse in August,” Champlin said. “She’s young (now 6) and it took some time where we were kind of figuring each other out. And then all of a sudden in the spring, we just started clicking.”
Champlin locked up the barrel racing championship with an impressive performance at the Nevada State High School Finals Rodeo on June 13-15 in Ely. She won four belt buckles and a saddle, and on top of that, earned more than $1,700 in scholarship money.
Champlin came into the state finals with a comfortable 24-point lead in the season standings and won the average at state. Her combined time of 52.276 for three rounds was a half-second faster than White Pine’s Sadie Leyba.
Just look at the times they put up to win those three rounds: 17.541 seconds, 17.238 and 17.497.
“She was super consistent,” Champlin said of her horse. “I didn’t want to push her; I knew I had a good lead so I just rode her conservatively. I just wanted to hold that position so I didn’t really push her. She really liked that arena; it was perfect for her.”
Teammate Lindy Lehman, a Carson High junior, also clocked times in the 17-second range for each round to finish fourth in the state competition and sixth in the overall season barrel racing standings. Her fastest time came in the second round when she clocked a 17.937.
“Lindy did awesome,” Champlin said. “She’s a really great rider and competitor. She’s also a good soccer player so she missed all of the rodeos last fall, otherwise she would be going to nationals with me.”
Champlin and Lehman finished first and second in the final regular season rodeo in Eureka. Champlin also won her first ride in Eureka on May 23 and won the second of two rides at Washoe on May 10, giving her a streak of three straight wins going into the state finals. She won at the Humboldt County Rodeo on May 2 in Winnemucca and won twice at Fallon on April 11-12.
Lehman and Champlin served as the Douglas-Carson club’s president and vice-president this past year. Lindy’s mother, Erin Lehman, is the club’s director.
“Erin has done so much to help our club,” Champlin said. “She came in full force and within about six months the size of our club had doubled in size.”
Champlin is moving on in the fall to attend San Diego State University, where she plans to pursue a major in political science and to continue barrel racing.
But first, there is some business in Rock Springs to attend to.
“I’m just hoping for the best,” Champlin said when asked about her goals for the national rodeo. “I know a few girls who have been back there so I have an idea of what to expect back there. I’ve had a really good year … this is icing on the cake. So we’ll see what happens”