Quentin Wheeler, a high school senior from Baker, competed in the steer wrestling event at the first performance of the PRCA NILE Rodeo this past weekend in Billings.
By Angel Wyrwas
Quentin Wheeler, a high school senior from Baker, competed in the steer wrestling event at the first performance of the PRCA NILE Rodeo this past weekend in Billings. Two leaders, after the fall season, in each rodeo event were chosen from the Montana High School Rodeo Association to compete in the High School Rodeo Showcase during Thursday night of the NILE.
“It was my goal for the fall season to go to the NILE,” said Wheeler. It takes dedication as well as hard work and talent to get one of those coveted spots in the showcase. Wheeler spends hours practicing at home. “We have six head of steers at home so I can practice,” said Wheeler, “but you have to break them in a bit.”
Then he is on the road each weekend to a different rodeo. “It gets pretty busy during the school year,” said Wheeler. “It’s definitely worth it when you get to compete at that level.”
“I was there with a lot of good friends of mine,” said Wheeler. “We were getting our passes and going over our times. Then they let us go into the grand entry and we were introduced. The announcer was telling everyone about the high school kids. It was the biggest crowd I’ve been in front of. I was just thinking ‘this is crazy’.
Wheeler saddled up and got his horse ready. “I rode my old horse Yeller,” he said. He waited to go behind all of the pro contestants. “They were giving advice to us,” said Wheeler, “and were so positive about it.”
“We went pretty good,” said Wheeler. “They had tough steers and we made a good run for the steers they had. I wasn’t nervous, just excited.” And there was a lot of applause from that big audience.
Apparently setting goals and reaching them is something that just goes together with Wheeler and rodeo. He started his high school rodeo career calf roping as a freshman. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to go to the National High School Finals Rodeo three years in a row,” said Wheeler. The summer before his sophomore year, Wheeler began steer wrestling. “I’m going to start saddle bronc in a month,” he said. “I’m interested in it and it will be a good event for my all around standings.”
Wheeler has all the regular goals up ahead: Montana High School Finals, National High School Finals and then some college rodeo. “I’m hoping to go on to college rodeo,” said Wheeler, “after I graduate this spring. I’ve started training a four year old horse to take with me to college.”
He is the son of Nicole Weiss and Greg Wheeler. “I really enjoy rodeo,” said Wheeler. “I hope to be a professional one day.”