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3 headed to National High School Finals Rodeo

Selby, Johnson, Alves will be making the trip to Springfield, Ill.

by: contributed photo - Trevor Alves (left) and Ty Johnson (right) showing their team roping form earlier this year at the Hermiston High School Rodeo. The team took first place in the event.

It all comes down to this.
   With the Oregon state rodeo and the Silver State International Rodeo now in the books, all that is left is the National High School Finals Rodeo, the culminating event on the high school rodeo season.
   Making their way to Springfield, Ill., where the rodeo is set to commence from July 24-30, will be Crook County rodeo members Zeb Selby (bareback), Ty Johnson (girls cutting, team roping), and Trevor Alves (team roping).
   "I really think Ty (Johnson) and Trevor (Alves) will do really well back there," said rodeo coach Clint Corey. "They're about as good as anyone in team roping."
   The duo haven't had an easy ride to nationals, however, as Johnson suffered a major injury early in the season, one that required four surgeries.
   During practice one day, Johnson was heeling a steer with a new rope. While she circled her rope around the saddle horn, the steer pulled, tightening the rope around her hand.
   "The pressure from the steer cut the thumb off," said Johnson, who also lost the tip of her middle finger during the process as well. "It wasn't pretty. It happens quite a bit in team roping, but you never think it will happen to you."
   Johnson said that she has to bandage up her thumb and finger when she ropes now, adding that it "feels like a shot of electricity through my thumb," and it affects her every time.
   Considering her injury has affected her all season, it's nothing short of impressive that Johnson and Alves made it to nationals in team roping. The pair finished in third place in the Oregon High School Rodeo Association standings, where the top four earn a bid to nationals.
   But since this is her third time to the national stage, hopefully it will only be her injury, and not the pressure of competing against thousands, that will affect her.
   "It's another rodeo," she said. "If you look at it as a huge deal, the pressure can build up. You're pumped, you could win a national title, but you've got to keep your head."
   Johnson's partner, Alves, is making his first trip to the year-end event. He knows that as a heeler, the pressure is on him if and when Johnson ropes the head.
   "My goal is just to rope every one," he said. "There is quite a bit of pressure. You don't want to let your partner down, so there is a lot of pressure."
   But Corey feels the two are going to have a great career in team roping, and have been improving throughout the season.
   "I've known Trevor (Alves) for several years; he'll go a long ways," Corey said. "In team roping, that's what it's all about: handle that calf for your heeler and give him the best shot. And they are just getting better and better at it."
   Johnson, meanwhile, tore a ligament in her left wrist last week. But the incoming senior is hoping that it won't affect her since it's on her opposite hand.
   While she will be battling an injury this year, it was Zeb Selby who battled an injury last year.
   Selby, a recent graduate from Crook County High School, will more or less be making his first trip to the national stage in bareback riding.
   Last year, in his first trip to nationals and on his first go, Selby was tossed over the head of his horse after it bucked to an abrupt stop. Selby hit the ground first, then was stepped on by the horse, breaking his ankle in five places and dislocating his foot.
   He will return this year in the same event, and with any rough stock event, it all depends on the draw.
   "Zeb...if he draws well, he could end up in the middle to upper end," Corey said. "It just depends on the draw. He's come a long way in the bareback riding and he's getting more consistent all the time."
   Selby was tied with Russell Hanson in fourth place with 26 points heading into the state rodeo, but walked away with 46 points at state while Hanson only cumulated 18, giving Selby the fourth and final ticket to nationals.
   Selby could not be reached for comment at press deadline.
   Corey added that what Selby doesn't want is a horse that is a "little bit ranker, one that bucks really hard." As for his injury from last year, Corey said that Selby has been all business all season.
   "I don't think that's bothered him," Corey said. "He's pretty well sound and ready to go."