Unlike most high school sports that pits athletes against other athletes, rodeo pits its athletes against a whole different animal.
"In rodeo, you're competing against the livestock," said Brad Nicholes, a former board member of the Utah High School Rodeo Association. "It's reactionary. You have to react to what the livestock gives you."
The state's best high school competitors will be tested Wednesday through Saturday at the Utah High School Rodeo finals at the Wasatch County Rodeo Grounds in Heber City. They will be competing for a trip to the national finals in Wyoming next month.
The state finals are a culmination of 32 rodeos throughout the year. Competitors in each event can carry their seven best scores from throughout the year into the final rodeo, where they will have the chance to add points to their total in preliminary rounds Wednesday and Thursday.
The 10 top-scoring competitors in each event will move on to the championship round, which will be held Saturday. The four top qualifiers earn a chance to represent Utah at the national finals.
Prep rodeo finals
O At Wasatch County Fairgrounds (Heber)
10 a.m. • 1st performance
7 p.m. • 2nd performance
10 a.m. • 3rd performance
1 p.m. • 1st go-round cow cutting
7 p.m. • 4th performance
10 a.m. • 5th performance
1 p.m. • 2nd go-round cow cutting
7 p.m. • 6th performance
1 p.m. • Cow-cutting championship round
6 p.m. • Championship performance