e members of the Crook County High School rodeo team are set to compete against the toughest competition in the state tomorrow through Saturday.
   The Oregon High School Rodeo Association championship finals rodeo will blow out of the gate at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond, with the first go of cow cutting tomorrow at 10 a.m.
   Athletes who place fourth or higher in each event earn a berth to the National High School Rodeo Association finals, set for July 23-29 in Springfield, Ill. Those who place fifth through 10th earn a trip to the Silver State Rodeo in Fallon, Nev., planned for July 23-29.
   The members of the Crook County team have consistently been top placers in rodeos throughout the 2001 season.
   "I'm really amazed and proud of the fact these kids work several events at one rodeo. That's a great accomplishment," said former advisor and CCHS rodeo supporter Karen Johnson. "It's a sport these kids practice hard at and practice for all year around."
   Each athlete has a chance to gain 30 points during the finals, with a possible of 10 points in each of the first two gos and 10 in the short go.
   In bareback, Mitchell Rickman could follow in his brother Jonathan's footsteps and earn a state title this week. Mitchell is ranked first in the state going into the competition with 90 points, ahead of the second place opponent who has 70.5.
   "He's got some room, but he can't sit back and do nothing either," Johnson said. "I think he just needs to be consistent and have the same kind of rides he's been having all year and not let the pressure get to him. You can't think of it as the state finals rodeo, you have to think of it as just another rodeo and just another horse."
   Two other bareback riders from CrookCounty are ranked in the top ten. Colt Conley sits at fourth place with 62 points, while Tyler Barnes is eighth with 43.
   In saddle bronc, Chance Millin is fourth in the state with 44 points, while Conley is eighth with eight points.
   Brant Giovanini is rated 10th in calf roping with 30.5 points, while Millin is 14th (24.5) and Brandon Beers is 18th (17).
   In boys cow cutting, Beers is sixth with 53.5 points, while Liz Bowerman is eighth in the girls event with 56 points.
   In the barrel racing, Colleen Kingsbury and Ashley Barlow will look to make some noise at state. Kingsbury is ranked fourth with a score of 70 points, while Barlow sits at 19th with nine points.
   Kingsbury and Barlow will also compete in goat tying. Kingsbury is ranked sixth (48), with Barlow in the eighth spot.
   Beers and partner Chris McKeon are just four points out of first place in the team roping, ranked fourth with 52 points, while the pair of Giovanini and Millin are seventh and just eight points from the top spot.
   In breakaway roping, Barlow will look to secure a spot at Nationals. She is ranked third in Oregon with a score of 52.
   "I've seen Ashley go from throwing a rope, to being one of the best breakaway ropers in the state," Johnson said.
   The cow cutting events are set for tomorrow. The first go will be held at 10 a.m. and the second at 12 noon. The final cutting finals will take place Thursday at 8 a.m. The first and second performances of all the other events are set for Thursday at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. respectively.
   The third and fourth performances are set for Friday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively. The final performance is scheduled for 12 noon Saturday. For information on prices, contact the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center at 548-2711.
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