By: Ruth Nicolaus
North Dakota Winter Show to add new high school rodeo event
Valley City, N.D. – The North Dakota Winter Show will feature a new event this year: The Battle of the Border.
The Battle of the Border is a high school rodeo, held on Sat., March 7 at 9 am featuring the top twelve high school rodeo athletes in each event from neighboring states: six from North Dakota and six from Minnesota.
The idea was a brainstorm of Tesa Klein, general manager for the N.D. Winter Show, Randy Hilzendeger, the N.D. National High School Director, and Tony Oftedahl, the Minn. National High School Director. “We’ve been good friends for many years and we’re always looking for ways to showcase our kids,” Hilzendeger said.
Since the rodeo includes only the top six from each state, it will not count towards the regular season standings. But it’s a great way to match up against someone different, Oftedahl said. “You’re only as good as your competition,” he said. High school rodeo athletes only compete against members of their own state, so Battle of the Border contestants will be up against people they’ve not competed against. “This adds an edge to it. It makes them feel like they have to step up their game to compete against the best the other state has.”
The number one Minnesota High School barrel racer and pole bender will be in Valley City to duke it out with eleven other barrel racers. Austyn Tobey, a cowgirl from Bemidji, Minn., is ranked at the top of both of her events and usually breakaway ropes, too, but won’t at the Winter Show.
Not only will she compete at the high school rodeo, but she’ll make a barrel racing run at the Winter Show’s pro rodeo as well. Tobey got her Women’s Pro Rodeo Association membership last fall and is doing a few pro rodeos as well as high school rodeos. She is the reigning Minnesota High School barrel racing and pole bending champion.
North Dakota’s Haley Vollmer is ranked first in the breakaway roping and sixth in the goat tying and will compete in both events. The Wing, N.D. cowgirl says the Battle of the Border will be a fun event and a great way to build state camaraderie. “We usually compete against each other (in the state) but now we can cheer for each other. It’s like the North Dakota competitors are on one team and the Minnesota competitors are on another team.”
The rodeo, which is held prior to the start of the spring rodeo schedule, will be a mini practice session. “It’s another rodeo to get ready for the season,” Hilzendeger said. “It’s a warm up situation.
“And it’s a fun way to get a little competition between states and for bragging rights.”
Tickets for the Battle of the Border, held March 7 at 9 am in conjunction with the North Dakota Winter Show, are $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages ten and under. All seating is general admission.
The 83rd annual North Dakota Winter Show takes place February 29-March 7 in Valley City. The oldest ag show in the state, it features eight days’ worth of entertainment: a country music concert by Jerrod Niemann, horse and pony pulls, livestock shows, a truck and tractor pull, ranch rodeo, and PRCA rodeo.
Tickets are available at the Winter Show office located at 700 Seventh Street SE, Valley City, N.D. For more information, visit the website at www.northdakotawintershow.com or call 701.845.1401.