The harbingers of spring are here.
The first tender blades of grass are pushing up through the brown ground, blue skies are overhead, new calves are on the ground, riders are in the saddle and it's time to cowboy up.
The Wood River and Carey rodeo teams each boast seven members for the 2005 season. The local squads are part of the 12-team Fifth District which features hands from schools north of the Snake River, including Fairfield, Gooding, Glenns Ferry, Shoshone, Richfield, Dietrich, Hagerman, Wendell, Jerome and Valley.
With a second-place finish at state in cow cutting, and a 15th at nationals in 2004, sophomore Kade Smith is back in the saddle for Wood River and after two rounds currently holds the district lead in the event. Smith will also team rope and calf rope. Once he returns from ski racing, junior Taylor Stoecklein will also participate in cow cutting and team roping.
Cow cutting events are held on Tuesdays on the following dates, April 19 at Burley, April 26 at Gooding, and May 10 at the Smith Barn in Bellevue.
The lone senior on the Wood River team is fourth-year barrel racer Hailey Baugh. A pair of freshmen, Amy Stoll and Krytal Tracy will barrel race and pole bend. Queen contestant Cassie Ann Rushton, a junior, will ride barrels and poles as well.
Grant Swindle is an associate member of the team and the official mascot.
The Carey contingent features freshmen Moj Broadie (calf roping/ team roping/ steer wrestling) and Katrina Molyneux (barrels/poles).
Sophomore riders are Brittany Hennefer (cow cutting/barrels/pole bending/goat tying/breakaway), Kathy Weaver (barrels/poles), and Brad Hunt (bull riding/team roping/calf roping).
Twins Bryan Hill (team roping/calf roping/steer wrestling) and Amanda Hill (pole bending/barrels/goat tying/breakaway/team roping) are part of Carey's junior class.
Last year, Amanda went to state as a top six district finisher in barrel racing.
Thanks to the generosity of John Flood, the team has been training at the Queens Crown Ranch in Picabo.
Fifth District rodeos will take place on April 22-23 at Glenns Ferry, April 29-30 at Jerome, May 6-7 at Shoshone, May 13-14 at Carey and May 27-28 at Gooding.