Local athletes compete at Challenge of Champions rodeo

SBHS students place in multiple events.

San Benito County was well-represented at the California High School Rodeo Association’s Challenge of Champions rodeo at the Amador County Fairgrounds on March 15-17.

The annual Challenge of Champions features the top high school athletes from nine different state districts, all competing in events like barrel racing, team roping, goat tying, bareback riding, cutting and more.

All contestants compete in a long round, and then the top 10 performers come back to compete in a short round.

Here’s how local San Benito High School athletes did at the Challenge of Champions:

  • Jake Bourdet: Eighth in Tie-Down Roping and second in Team Roping (heeler) with Lilla Bell
  • Tucker Bourdet: Ninth in Boys Cutting, Fourth in Saddle Bronc Riding
  • Tristan Schmidt: Fifth in Boys Cutting
  • Lilla Bell: Second in Team Roping (header) with Jake Bourdet and First in Pole Bending
  • Trista Reid: Eighth in Girl Goat Tying
  • Sierra Stelling: Fourth in Girl Goat Tying
  • McKenna Wood: Ninth in Girls Cutting, Fifth in Girls Breakaway Roping

Hailee Westrick qualified in the Reined Cow Horse event, as did Emilee Hitchcock in the Barrel Racing, but didn’t come back for Sunday’s short round after not placing in the top 10.

Local rodeo athletes will compete at the California High School State Finals in June, where the top four contestants in each event will go on to the nationals.

For complete results from the Challenge of Champions, visit the California High School Rodeo Association website.


Blaire Strohn

Blaire Strohn was a popular and vivacious reporter for BenitoLink. Blaire passed away Sept. 25, 2019 after doing her best for years to heroically ignore the limitations of Cystic Fibrosis. Despite these challenges, she was a graduate student at Oklahoma State University focusing on International Agriculture. Blaire also graduated from California State University, Fresno with a Bachelors Degree in Agriculture Communications. Born and raised on a cow/calf operation ranch in Paicines, Blaire was passionate about the agriculture community and western way of life.