Saddle bronc champion

Former Dolores High School student Tanner Lockhart wins state rodeo title

Tanner Lockhart is suspended in the air during saddle bronc riding in Greeley in this file photo.

During his four years as a student at Dolores High School, Ute Mountain Rodeo Team member Tanner Lockhart won countless rodeo titles.

Of those many titles however, Lockhart's latest was especially sweet as it cemented him as a high school state rodeo champion.

Lockhart wins state title

Competing in the Colorado High School Rodeo Finals in Craig on May 21-26, Lockhart won the first round, the short go, the average and the state championship in the saddle bronc event.

Entering the finals as the state's top-ranked saddle bronc rider, Lockhart got off to a strong start, placing first in the first round with a score of 75.

"The first round, I got on a pretty good horse and ended up winning it," said Lockhart.

Unfortunately for Lockhart, the second round did not go as well - he was bucked off and failed to score.

Thanks to his first-round performance however, Lockhart advanced to the short go, where he scored 77 points to place first overall. Lockhart also locked up the average title, as well as the state title.

On the year, Lockhart accumulated 130 total points. Elias Hindi finished second in the state with 77.50 points.

By virtue of his performance at the Finals, Lockhart received $3,000 in college scholarship funds, four championship buckles and a trophy saddle.

"I was pretty excited," said Lockhart. "The past three years, I just barely missed (the title), and this year, I finally got it."

Lockhart looks ahead

Although Lockhart's high school rodeo career is nearing its end, the saddle bronc rider appears to have a bright future.

After competing in the International Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla., July 6-11, Lockhart will attend the High School National Finals, which will take place in Rock Springs, Wyo., July 6-11.

Lockhart will then depart for Snyder, Texas, where he will attend West Texas College on a full-ride rodeo scholarship.

While an eventual professional rodeo career is still a long way off, Lockhart has given such a career a thought, stating that he definitely plans on going pro.

"I love all of it," said Lockhart. "I love seeing different places, I love the friends that you make, and I love getting on bucking horses."

In the immediate future, Lockhart plans to continue practicing in hopes of improving his skills.

Asked to provide advice to young people who might hope to follow in his footsteps, Lockhart was frank.

"Just go for it," said Lockhart. "Just find a practice pen or a school or something where you can experience with it."