North Zulch graduate and Madisonville resident Sonora Schueneman took the title for Goat Tying at the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) in Gillette, Wyo. Schueneman, 18, is the first contestant from the state of Texas to win the Goat Tying competition since 1995.
“It was truly a blessing that’s still hard to fathom,” Sonora said. “I had an incredible horse and support system around me. There were plenty of girls who tie just as well as I do that fell short, so it’s incredibly humbling to win this.”
Goat Tying is a timed event that requires the contestant to step off of their horse and tie three legs of the goat quicker than their opponents do. While it never took her much longer than 7 seconds at Nationals, Schueneman notes that it’s a lot more time consuming when you’re practicing for the events because you have to prepare for what can happen within 100 feet.
“My parents hold more goats than a person should ever have to come in contact with,” said Sonora. “Thankfully, they have always supported my wildest dreams and it has paid off.”
Sonora competed in go-round 1 to begin her Nationals performance with a run of 6.83 seconds. Her second score of 7.21 put her in first place in the round and on average. More importantly, it earned her a third goat in which she used to seize the title with a performance lasting 7.59 seconds.
“I kept my mind focused throughout and didn’t dwell on what I had already won,” said Sonora. “After last year’s national finals, I just wanted to get back to Gillette and give myself the opportunity to get a third goat.”
Sonora attributed her family with her success and their willingness to support her in any endeavor. She insists that rodeo is a family sport and she credits her mother for being patient when “one more” becomes 20 more in the practice pen. Her dad holds many goats himself and often offers his opinions.
Sonora also has a little sister, Sierra, who encourages her to be the best role model she can be. Sierra made it to the National Junior High Finals Rodeo this year with her partner Koby Douch.
“It takes a village,” said Sonora. “There’s not one single person I can thank for my successes. I’m always appreciative of everyone who takes pride in allowing me to always better myself.”
Sonora will continue her education as well as her rodeo career at Texas A&M this coming fall.
“I will go against girls who have already excelled at a collegiate level,” said Sonora. “It’s important to stay focused on the end game. It will be an honor to rodeo under Dr. Al Wagner.”
There were more than 1,500 competitors at the NHSFR this year. They came from 43 states, five Canadian provinces as well as Australia.
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