Prep rodeo finals offer teens the chance to compete in events they found through their families, lifestyles

Weston Kenney,

FILE: Cowboys prepare for the bull riding event at the Utah High School Rodeo Finals in Heber City, Thursday, June 2, 2016.

HEBER CITY — Teens like Dillon Jacobs and Kaycie Ahlstrom were climbing on horses when they were still in diapers, and that passion may pay off in the form of state titles this week.

“I started riding as soon as I could walk,” said Ahlstrom, a senior from Rush Valley. “My dad and his parents, they all did it. I just kind of grew up around it.”

She rode in peewee rodeos from the time she was five, while Jacobs, an Emery High junior was learning the art of riding a bucking horse when a lot of boys his age were contemplating a bike without training wheels.

Both teens are among the 365 participants in this year’s Utah State High School Finals Rodeo that begins Wednesday and runs through Saturday at the Wasatch County Fairgrounds.

Dillon is in fourth place headed into the state finals, which means he has a very good shot at not only a state title, but also at making the Utah team that will compete at Nationals in July. He’s so close to his first trip to Nationals that he’s not going to participate in bull riding, even though he’s qualified to do so.

“Because I’ve been spending my time practicing riding barebacks,…

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