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Rodeo competitor shines in and out of the ring
This weekend in Hastings hundreds of students from across the state competed at the Adams County Fairgrounds in the State High School Rodeo Finals. In tonight's Celebrate Youth, News 5's Jeniffer Berry introduces us to one competitor who shines—in and out of the rodeo ring.
It is day one of the Nebraska High School Rodeo Finals. Competitors take a break from riding and roping to teach some younger kids how to do the same.
One of them is Kaycee Wendel.
The 18 year old is a recent graduate of Chadron High School and a fierce rodeo competitor.
"In the past few years I have gone to the national high school rodeo finals and that has been fun," said Werdel.
This year, she is looking for a repeat, competing in 5 events:
"Barrel racing, break away roping, team roping, cutting and pole bending," Werdel said.
That is her first competition tonight. This afternoon, she is focused.
"I like the competition. I am a very competitive person," said Werdel.
Kaycee does not just use her rodeo skills out here in the ring. She takes her drive and determination to the classroom, too. And it is paying off.
"The Gates millennium scholarship. It will pay all the way up to your doctorate degree," said Werdel.
Kaycee is one of just a thousand students from across the country who received the full–ride scholarship from Bill Gates.
"It pays for everything," Werdel said.
It was based on grades, community service, and leadership. It is an honor, an award she said she probably would not have gotten without her years in rodeo, and the life skills the sport taught her.
"You definitely have to practice to do well in rodeo, and responsibility, and taking care of your horses, and practicing to do good. If you do not practice you are not going to be good," said Werdel.
And Kaycee wants to be the best, now and after high school rodeo.
Next year she will take her books and her horses to Chadron State College and major in engineering—keeping up her grades and also her rodeo routine.
"Get my school work done and ride all my horses," said Werdel. "There are a lot of horses to keep in shape and practice and all that."
But today there is just one—one horse, one task and one goal: to make it to nationals.
Kaycee ended up coming in fifth in the Breakaway Competition. That means she is an alternate for the National Rodeo Finals.
And we should also mention, Kaycee's older brother is also attending Chadron State College on the same Gates Millenium Scholarship.
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