Thursday, 09 June 2016 09:57

Family makes it extra special for multi-winner at high school rodeo finals

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Morgan Anderson in Swift Current. Morgan Anderson in Swift Current. Photo by Humphrey Tam

The name Anderson was found a lot at the Saskatchewan High School Rodeo Association finals winners circle.

Maclin, Keaton and Morgan Anderson, formerly of Scandia, Alberta but now reside on their home ranch of Rockglen, Sask. All earned spots to the 2016 Canadian High School Finals Rodeo which takes place in Nanton July 28-30.
Maclin, a graduating senior, concluded a successful Saskatchewan high school 'career' ending up third in the tie down, good enough for a national berth and was the recipient of the Chad Worral Memorial Scholarship ($500 for tie down roping).
Keaton, a year younger than Maclin in Grade 11, will be heading off to nationals in team roping.
Their 13 year-old brother Morgan had an even more dominating weekend. Morgan earned the reserve junior high school high point champ; chute dogging champ; team roping header champ; was season leader team roping champs with Tanner Lockie,; boys breakaway champ; second place champ in boys goat tying; and third in Ribbon Roping with Gracie Keeley. He also won chute dogging and boys breakaway average.
Not a bad weekend’s work for the Grade 7 student.
Morgan humbly says while it sounds like he dominated, it was actually really close. While the down-to-earth Anderson says it's great to win, it's all about the comradery with the other rodeo competitors.
"I knew the points were close going into the finals; I had to be strong. My first day was pretty good, but I didn't do as well as I had hoped in all my events on the second day. I knew I had to do well in the short go. I had to do well and I was fortunate to have a good day," he explains. "I had no expectations.  I knew that I was very close in points with a couple other boys and I had to have good runs. When the points are close one good or bad run can make a difference. There are a few really strong boys my age and we all push each other to do our best. We are all good friends."
Morgan's biggest surprise was winning the chute dogging average. He was the only one to have three clean runs and not take any penalties.  He likes this event so was happy to win it... not that he doesn't like the other events.
It may sound cliché, but he really just likes to compete.
 "I really like all my events for different reasons, but I think I would have to say my two favourite are team roping because I get to rope and handle the steer for my partner, and ribbon roping because I get to step off my horse and run down the rope and handle my calf just like calf roping," Morgan explains. " I don't get to practice with my partners much as we live too far apart.  In the summer our parents try to get my team roping partner Tanner Lockie and I together a couple times before Canadians. We both practice a lot separately.  We have been roping together for two years now. My ribbon roping partner Gracie Keeley and I have also been ribbon roping together for two years. We also qualified for Canadians. She is a good partner because she is quick and aggressive so we work well together."
Pardon the pun, but this trip to nationals isn't young Morgan's first rodeo.
He feels extra pressure this year after winning the Canadian Jr High School team roping last year. But for the entire family which also includes parents Dale and Cheryl Anderson each of which have competed in a rodeo or two in their time and younger sister Katie — it's all about family.
"This year my big brother Mac is done grade 12 so this will be the last year all of us boys will be going together. I want to do well when the whole family is there," explains Morgan. "My family and siblings encourage me every day.  We are all always helping each other practise, in the rodeo arena, and cheering each other on. My brother Mac ropes and he helps me all the time, and all four of us team rope together. Now my little sister Katie starts junior high school rodeo in the fall so I help her too."
Morgan acknowledges the help his parents give him with practising, making sure he has good horses to ride, and going to roping and rodeo clinics to help them all improve.
Besides the skills they are gaining, it's the experience which helps and for someone so young, he already seems to understand what it takes to win, yet while staying humble and knowing what's truly important.
"They are always driving us everywhere and packing the trailer with everything we need," a thankful Morgan explains of his parents. "It also helps that they understand the pressure of competition because they know when we get pressured up, and help us work through that and help us be mentally strong and focussed. They are always there at the arena. Helping us get our horses and ropes ready and making sure all our tack is good and taping us."

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Ryan Dahlman

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