By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item
BEAVERTOWN — Three Valley teens are saddling up for the weeklong National High School Rodeo Finals that begin today in Rock Springs, Wyo.
Megan Arbogast, 17, of Beavertown, and Daniel Brittingham, 15, of Sunbury, say they first became interested in rodeo as youngsters.
“My gram took me to the Farm Show when I was 4 and ever since then I’ve wanted to (be involved in rodeo),” Brittingham said.
Brittingham qualified for the competition in bull riding; Arbogast for breakaway roping. Other national competition qualifiers included Lance Hower, Milton, calf-roping and team-roping; Sarah Shrawder, Mifflinburg, barrels and goat-tying; and Brock Hower, Milton, team roping.
The Hower brothers were not attending the national competition, said their mother, Kelly Hower.
More than 1,500 high school-aged students will be competing, representing 41 states and three countries, according to the National High School Rodeo Association.
Arbogast — a student at Midd-West High School — said she gets a little nervous before heading into the ring, but she controls that by just relaxing beforehand.
“I hang out with my friends before I go in,” she said.
Her friends are understanding about her rodeo hobby, she said.
“They’ve always asked what it is and they ask what we do, then they’re like, ‘Oh, OK,’” she said.
Brittingham, a freshman at Shikellamy High School, said his friends are usually surprised to hear about his hobby.
“I tell them and they’re like, ‘You’re crazy!’” he said.
But Brittingham enjoys the event, which allows him to participate in a little thrill-seeking, he said.
“It’s pretty much just a big adrenaline rush,” he said.
Brittingham said his family would be driving out to Wyoming for the competition and was selling window clings to help pay for the trip, he said. Brittingham said he’s “a little nervous” for the competition.
“I’m actually a little nervous,” he said. “But I’m getting a little better on (my bull).”
Mostly, Brittingham and Arbogast said, they’re just thankful for the opportunity to compete.
“I’d just like to thank all of my family and sponsors for supporting me,” Arbogast said.