At 16 years old, Chase Quam has already been competing in rodeo for the majority of his life. Now, he is headed down to Rock Springs, Wyoming, for the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR). He will be competing in three events; team roping, tie down roping and steer wrestling.
“It’s quite exciting. I’ve been preparing for a while for this. I just gotta stay calm and focused,” said Quam.
This is his fourth national competition and last year, he placed 29th in the world in tie down roping. This year, he is looking to crack the top 20. To do so, he has been practicing for five hours a day.
“I just practice like it’s the real thing and just try to mentally prepare. I can’t prepare for the surroundings and how the sound is going to be like. But I can prepare myself mentally and physically,” Quam said.
The student from Walter W. Brown in Langham comes from a rodeo family, with his dad serving as a coach and mentor, once competing in Wyoming himself 25 years ago.
“It’s pretty exciting to keep our name going and see they really want to do it. And if they want to do it, I’ll do it as much as or help them out as much as I can. My dad did that for me,” said Chris Quam.
“The practice pen, I’ve always told the boys, is for your horse, so just go out and practice, rope for your horse, because if you help your horse here, he’ll help you out in the arena when you’ve gotta ask for more.”
And his brother Cash competes at the provincial level, hoping to one day make it to nationals as well.
“Last year, I was in juniors and doing different events than I’m doing this year. This year, I’m doing calf-roping and team roping and going to be doing steer wrestling like my brother, hoping to do a little bit better than him,” said Cash.
While their mom, is their self-proclaimed biggest cheerleader.
“I think for me, knowing how many hours of dedication they put into it and how hard they work and how hard they want to bring themselves to the next level. Seeing them grow, it’s pretty good. I’m the chief, cook and bottle washer. I’m their biggest cheer group. It’s exciting. It’s nerve wracking too,” said Kimberly Quam.
“It’s pretty incredible. Chris and I come from a pretty long line of rodeo and agriculture and horse-related families. So it’s pretty prestigious. Chase is going to compete against 1,500 of the world’s top athletes in the sport of rodeo. So there will be kids from five western provinces, all through the United States, Mexico and Australia,” she adds.
And with that many people, Chase is expecting the atmosphere to play a role in the competition.
“It’s going to be noisy and it’s going to be fun,” said Chase.
“When I compete, I try to zone everything out and just focus on the run itself.”
“Nationals is a whole different game. So the boys are coming out of our provincial run, which is fantastic and so they’ve earned a spot to compete at nationals,” said Kimberly.
“There’s thousands of people. The energy, you can feel the energy and it’s really the top of the top. The stock is always good. The kids, they come well mounted on really exceptional equine athletes. There’s going to be a lot of nerves, because when you go to that level of competition, it forces you to go to a different place in terms of an athlete but it’s exciting because they’ve earned it.”
The NHSFR kicks off on Sunday and runs until July 21.