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Tuning up for B.C. Finals

Dawson Creek high school rodeo competitors got one last tune-up in front of a home-town crowd before heading off to next week's provincial finals in Merritt.

Dawson Creek high school rodeo competitors got one last tune-up in front of a home-town crowd before heading off to next week's provincial finals in Merritt.

Some picked up much needed points at this weekend's local rodeo to help them get into the top 12 in the Northern Division and qualify for the B.C. championships, while others knew before the two-day event that they had a spot at the finals and took the opportunity to shine in front of family and friends. And while it was an all-BC rodeo as the usual Alberta competitors were unable to take part, the high school contestants from this province are now well prepared for the championships.

"We usually co-approve with Alberta, but they are getting ready for their finals so they didn't co-approve with us, so it was just our northern B.C. kids. But it was a good practice rodeo for the finals," said Kathy Corr, one of the organizers of the two-day high school rodeo at the local fairgrounds.

"Those ones who are riding the bubble, if they pulled it off, they will be going to Merritt this weekend."

Competitors came from around the Peace Country and as far away as Prince George and competed under sunny skies.

"It was nice weather. We had to ride in the rain for a couple of the rodeos elsewhere and it is always nice to have good weather," said South Peace Secondary School student Melynn Stromquist.

Groundbirch's Frankie Wilson gave herself a memorable present for her 16th birthday (Sunday) by winning the goat tying during both performances, Saturday and Sunday, and placing fourth in pole bending.

Stromquist came away from the local rodeo with two pole bending titles and a second and third showing in the barrel racing competitions.

Lance Isaak, from Arras, won Sunday's team roping.

However, there were several other local competitors who also put in solid performances this weekend.

Dawson Creek's Shay Bergunder was ninth in barrel racing, seventh and 10th in goat tying and 10th in pole bending. Tomslake's Taija Rae Hermsen placed fourth and second in barrel racing, seventh in goat tying and sixth in pole bending. Pouce Coupe's Lauryn Davis was third and eighth in goat tying and seventh in pole bending. Dawson Creek's Krystie Vipond was fifth in goats and 10th in pole bending. And Denna Milliken, also from Dawson Creek, was ninth in barrels.

The junior kids, who will move onto the high school competition in the coming years, competed in a junior rodeo Saturday night (those results will be in the Daily News later this week).

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