LINCOLN, Neb. – Haiden Thompson hasn’t been home in almost a month, but during that stretch, she has seen much success on the rodeo circuit between the National High School Finals Rodeo, the Little Britches Rodeo Association and the IFYR in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
She capped off the busy stretch with a national title in the goat tying event at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Lincoln.
Thompson entered the final round knowing she needed a near-perfect run, as she was trailing in average by nearly a second.
When the dust settled, her run of 7.91 seconds in the championship round was enough to beat out her closest competitor in Oregon’s Kenndey Buckner by .01 of a second.
Thompson’s three run average was 23.67 seconds to Buckner’s 23.68.
Thompson won the first round with a time of 7.36 seconds.
“I didn’t think I had a great go,” she said. “I knew going into my run, I needed to slow down and do every step correctly before moving on to the next. The goat ended up not being too bad, and it worked out.”
Going into the second run, she had the same goal in mind.
“Slow down and do everything correctly and see where I ended up,” Thompson said.
Her second round wasn’t what she was hoping for. Thompson’s run of 8.4 seconds was good for 15th place in the second round, but it placed her in the finals with a shot at a national championship.
“The goat I had, when I got to him, was turned around,” she said. “I was a little slower on him.”
Despite that, Thompson found herself second in the average heading into the championship round.
“It was a pretty good spot to be in, honestly,” Thompson said. “I knew I was going to have to be quick, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be quick if I wasn’t smooth.”
Thompson didn’t have a good draw for a goat in her final round.
“He had one time on him, and it was a slow time,” she said. “The other two times he had been tied, he had gotten up and didn’t stay tied.”
As a result, Thompson was worried going into the final round that it might not work out the way she wanted it to.
“I wanted to do what I could with the goat I had, and if it worked out, great, but if not, knowing what I could was good enough,” she added.
It worked out in the end with a time of 7.91 seconds, which was sixth fastest in the round, but vaulted her to first place in the NHSFR average, recording no times on either run.
Thompson also qualified for the NHSFR in breakaway roping but didn’t have the week she was looking for in that event, recording no times in each of her two attempts.
Thompson also had strong showings at the Little Britches National Finals Rodeo and the IFYR.
“I’ve had a pretty good summer run,” Thompson said.
She won ribbon roping, trail course, the finals all-around and world all-around at the LBNFR and was second overall in barrel racing at the IFYR.
Other locals at NHSFR
Thompson was the only local athlete competing at the NHSFR as Cord Herring, Bodie Herring and Cort McBride also made appearances at the season-ending rodeo.
Cord Herring competed in tie down roping, placing 12th in the second round after recording a no time in the first round.
Bodie Herring and McBride were partners in team roping. The duo competed round one in 16.6 seconds but recorded a no time in round two.