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Hi-Line Athlete Profile: Mary Gibson, Rodeo

Not even in high school yet, Mary Gibson is already shining on the rodeo scene


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre's Mary Gibson poses with one of the two horses she'll be competing on at next week's National Junior High Rodeo Finals in Huron, South Dakota. Gibson is making the trip with Team Montana to compete in both breakaway roping and pole bending.

Havre Middle Schooler and her two horses headed to the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Huron, South Dakota

Mary Gibson is still at an early stage in her young rodeo career. Yet, that hasn't stopped her from making waves on the Montana rodeo scene, and before she even enters high school, the Havre High freshman to be is taking her talents to the National Junior High Finals Rodeo.

The National Junior High Finals Rodeo will be held for the 14th consecutive year and this time around, cowboys and cowgirls from across the country will converge on Huron, South Dakota, June 24-30 for the national competition.

Gibson, who earned a position on the Montana state National Junior High rodeo team, will compete in both pole bending and breakaway roping, after qualifying for the two events at the Montana Junior High Rodeo in Townsend last month.

Joining Gibson for the NJHFR will be close to 1,000 competitors from 43 states, five Canadian provinces, as well as Mexico and Australia according to an NJHFR press release. The championships on Saturday will also be televised nationally on RFD-TV.

While Gibson earned her way on the team with her performance at the state junior high rodeo, she was one of the top cowgirls on the junior high circuit in Montana all season long. Participating in a number of different events, Gibson finished seventh in the all-around standings for the Montana Junior High Rodeo. In addition to finishing seventh overall, Gibson was also fourth in girls breakaway, fourth in pole bending and eighth in goat tying.

Gibson followed that up by placing in pole bending and breakaway roping at the Montana Junior High School Rodeo finals, which got her into the NJHFR in both events. Gibson, who is coached by local rodeo standout Paige Raty, who also happens to be her cousin, said she is excited about the trip and competing against the best in her sport. Yet, before Gibson leaves for South Dakota, the Havre Daily News caught up with her for five questions.

HDN: How excited are you about making it to nationals?

Gibson: "I am really excited about it. It will be fun to travel and get to be with the rest of the Montana team and there are a lot of other fun events that we get to do."

HDN: So you are riding two different horses for each event?

Gibson: "Yeah, I am riding Brewer for roping. He's 15 and Spiderman for pole bending. He's 14 and he's a new horse I have been working with."

HDN: You and Spiderman have been trying to get ready for the pole bending, how has that been going?

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Mary Gibson practices roping at her family ranch north of Havre recently.

Gibson: "It has been a long process. He knows what he is doing. He is harder to ride than my other pole horse; my other one just knew where to go. But we have been training a lot, so he has gotten better."

HDN: So how did you get into rodeo?

Gibson: "My family has been into it. My cousin Paige Raty kind of got me started and she has really shown me a lot. She has been coaching me the last couple of years and that has really helped."

HDN: What is your goal for the NJHRF?

Gibson: "I just want to go out and do the best that I can. I have been practicing really hard and hopefully all of that hard work will pay off."


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