Three Washington County cowgirls are testing their rodeo skills this week at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
Libby Hegemann and Hailey O'Daniel of Arlington, and Herman's Laney Hoier, qualified for the National Junior High Finals Rodeo (NJHFR) with their efforts before and during May's Nebraska state finals. The week-long, national rodeo started Sunday and continues through Saturday night.
Hegemann is testing her skills against the country's best in four events. She started Sunday in the ribbon roping with Team Nebraska partner Kaddo Schrunk before Monday's evening performance of the girls breakaway roping.
The Arlington cowgirl is making a barrel racing run today and takes part in two goat tying performances Wednesday. Her second runs in the roping events and barrels take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Hegemann earned her nationals spot with top-four finishes during the state season. The Nebraska breakaway champion — an All-Around runner-up — dominated the field, while also claiming second out of the 26 riders who scored points in the barrel racing. She was fourth in the goat tying and ribbon events.
O'Daniel, meanwhile, qualified for the NJHFR's pole bending and barrel racing. The Arlington student-athlete and her horse completed their first run through the poles Sunday and will make their second Saturday. The pairing races around barrels today and Thursday in Iowa, as well.
O'Daniel was second in the Nebraska pole-bending standings to go with her third-place finish in the barrels.
Finally, Hoier — who claimed eighth in the All-Around state standings — was her state's goat-tying runner-up with 76 season points, which was two more than Hegemann.
The Herman cowgirl competed in the Sunday night national performance before she makes her second run Saturday morning.
In March, all three Washington County cowgirls competed in the Hooey Junior American Patriot Rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas. Hegemann and Hoier are already qualified to return in 2022.
The riders' NJHFR results will be published in a future Enterprise Media Group newspaper edition.