Kayla Inderbieten, an incoming senior at Bishop Union High School, and Torrie Johnston, a recent BUHS graduate, have done themselves and the Eastern Sierra proud.
But outcompeting several hundred other rodeo contestants across the state for a chance at National High School Rodeo Association Finals was only the first hurdle to realizing their rodeo dreams.
Raising the funds to get to the big show in Wyoming is the second. As word of their need spreads through the community, donations are coming in from groups such as the Lions Club, Sunrise Rotary and Altrusa.
Inderbieten and Johnston qualified for National High School Rodeo Association Finals by placing in the top four in their events in the California High School Rodeo Association Finals held June 10-13 in Bishop.
Inderbieten, a three-year CHSRA veteran and 2014-15 Bishop Union High School senior, placed second of 48 barrel racers on a Tatum Ranch horse. “My little horse and I did it. I’m beyond amazed. I’d like to add that my family trained my horse; Tard has never had a single day of professional training.” Looking ahead, she added, “I need these wins to compete in college rodeo and to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo.”
Johnston, BUHS class of 2014, placed fourth of 18 light rifle shooting marksmen. Although Johnston started hunting as a little girl with her father, this was her first CHSRA. “I’m really excited and I’m doing rodeo this fall at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.”
The 2014 NHSRA Finals will be held in Rock Springs, Wyo. on July 13-19, where about 200 contestants from 42 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia.
So far, the girls have received financial support from the American Legion Post 118, Sunrise Rotary, Lions Club, Altrusa International of the Eastern Sierra, The Inyo Register, Eastern Sierra Community Bank, Bishop Veterinary Hospital, Coso Geothermal and individuals such as Danna Stroud and Bruce and Elsie Ivey.
Bishop resident Bill Kujawa has also arranged for the girls to benefit from donations made on the Circle Hole (the 15th hole) during the upcoming Firecracker Open golf tournament at Bishop Country Club.
In the meantime, Bishop CHSRA Committee member Chuck Kilpatrick continues working on the girls’ behalf to raise the money needed to get them to the national stage. And in general, he’s one of their biggest cheerleaders. On Monday, he boasted of the pairs’ rare accomplishment to the Bishop City Council during its regular meeting.
“It’s the world’s largest rodeo,” Kilpatrick said of the NHSRA FInals. “This is like going to the Olympics for them.”