Rodeo: Denny heading to New Zealand
Wyatt Denny has had no shortage of success on the Nevada State High School Rodeo circuit over the past several years.
He’s also performed well on broader stages, including the national high school finals and on the Northwest Professional Rodeo Association circuit.
Next week, the Mt. Sierra Christian School senior will test his chops at the international level.
Denny has been invited to compete in the New Zealand International Rodeo – a series of competitions in Dunedin (starting Nov. 17) and Hamilton (starting Nov. 27) – as part of a contingent representing the United States.
Teams from New Zealand, Australia and Canada will also be on hand. Denny was among three bareback riders selected from the United States.
“It should be pretty cool,” Denny said. “They were telling me rodeo is pretty popular down there.
Here, there are rodoes everywhere. Down there, it’s kind of focused and everyone goes. They have great promoters that play it up real well and they have some big crowds.
“I’m excited about it.”
It’s the latest honor in what has already been a stellar year for Denny.
Last spring, he was the Nevada high school all-around champion, as well as the bareback champion.
He was the Natonal Reserve Champion bareback rider at the national finals in Rock Spring, Wyoming. He completed his rookie season with the Northwest Professional Rodeo Association by winning the bareback finals. He was also the Idaho Cowboys Association champion and finals winner in bareback, a title he won at the Icebreaker Invitational National Rodeo in Ogden as well.
Traveling overseas isn’t necessarily new for Denny, as he went to China on a tourist venture when he was 13 and competed in skiing in Switzerland. This will be his first trip to compete in a different country for rodeo, though.
“You buy your plane ticket and they pay half your air fare,” Denny said. “Everything else is paid by the company putting on the rodeo. Each night of the rodeo, there will be $7,000 of prize money up for grabs and then there will $10,000 added at one of them.”
Denny is coming off a stretch of nine months with rodeos every weekend.
“I just had my first weekend off in a while,” he said. “There’s not really anything else I can do differently to prepare for New Zealand, just keep doing what I’ve been doing. I’ll ride each horse for what it is and see what happens.”
Denny said he is still considering his options for after he completes high school. He’s received a number of full-ride scholarship offers, including Western Texas College, Cochise College, Panola College and Feather River College, where his brother, Grant, currently competes.
He trains in bareback with Mario Cuicci and spends extensive time in the gym to build his strength.
For more information on the New Zealand rodeo, visit internationalrodeo.co.nz.
Joey Crandall can be reached at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.