Seventeen-year-old Ricky Warren of Hudson’s Hope has done something no other Canadian teenager has done in high school rodeo – he made Canadian High School Rodeo Finals history this past summer by placing top three in all five the events here entered.
In early August the young cowboy travelled to Virden, Manitoba to compete in the 2012 Canadian High School Finals. There Ricky finished third in steer wrestling, second in boys cutting, second in calf roping, second in team roping and took first in saddlebronc.
He was also named the 2012 Canadian High School Rodeo Association’s All-Around Cowboy.
“He does well and he’s worked very, very hard to get to where he is,” said Ricky’s mom Lori. “He’s a strong competitor and he’s very competitive and he practices very diligently, but that was an amazing achievement that he did.”
Lori added she was most proud of her son being named All-Around Cowboy.
“It shows his versatility and how he worked hard all winter and spring practicing,” she said. “It was really nice that he got that to top off all of his work.”
In 2012 Ricky was also the B.C. High School Rodeo Association’s saddlebronc champion and finished 11th in saddlebronc at the National High School Rodeo Association Finals in the U.S.
“He’s had a remarkable season and he’s a phenomenal athlete,” said Lynn Peck, northern executive director of the BCHSRA. “He has a plan in place and he works extremely hard to achieve his plan and his goal. This is his Grade 12 year, he’ll be going into his final season in high school rodeo, and he’s achieved more already than a lot of people have been able to achieve and still has another season to go.”
“He had an awesome year, and twice he’s already qualified to go to the national finals as well and achieving that was good. He’s done well, he’s done really well,” Peck added.
Ricky first got on a horse when he was a toddler and began competing in high school rodeo in Grade 9. Now in his final year of high school, Ricky has already been contacted by colleges in the U.S. offering rodeo scholarships and he and his parents will be heading south of the border this December to go over his options.
“It’s very rewarding for him,” Lori said about the attention from American schools.
Ricky practices for two or three hours a night on his family’s hunting property, using bucking horses, chutes and calves supplied by his parents as well as horses loaned to him by other rodeo members in the region.
Mac Leask Jr. and Dan and Maryanne Novotney are members of the community who let Ricky use their horses and practice his different events, something Lori is very thankful for. It’s people like them and financial sponsors, she says, that give kids the opportunity to stay in rodeo.
“A lot of people assisted him along the way and without help from a lot of people kids can’t do this sort of thing,” she said. “People loaned him horses so he could compete in certain events, they taught him different things; it’s just a real wide network of people reaching out and helping all the kids in high school rodeo to learn and strive to do their best and achieve some goals. It’s a pretty neat group of people.”
“It’s nice to see so many people so giving of their time and knowledge.”
Ricky will spend the winter practicing for his last high school rodeo season. Whether or not he can repeat his performance at the 2013 Canadian High School Rodeo Finals is unknown, but not something his supporters will pressure him about.
“You don’t want to jinx him or anything or put too much pressure on him because we expect him to do well but he just does well,” Peck said. “Watching him is phenomenal. He knows what he has to do, gets it done and he’s a true all-round competitor.”
“I just hope he continues to do well and reaches his dreams,” Lori said. “He wants to college rodeo and excel in that, so I hope it all works out for him in that aspect.”