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ELGIN'S CASE READY FOR TRIP TO NATIONALS

STATE CHAMP: Kristi Case of Elgin won breakaway roping last month at the state tournament. (The Observer/RAENELLE KWOCK).
STATE CHAMP: Kristi Case of Elgin won breakaway roping last month at the state tournament. (The Observer/RAENELLE KWOCK).

By Raenelle Kwock

Observer Staff Writer

ELGIN – Kristi Case has waited four long years to compete at the world's largest rodeo. Next week, the Eastern Oregon High School Rodeo Club member will experience that sweet opportunity.

She will be competing Monday through July 28 in breakaway roping at the 54th annual National High School Finals Rodeo in Farmington, N.M.

"I'm excited," she said.

Joanie Cant, EOHS Rodeo Club adviser, said Nancy (Coleman) Wright was the last girl from the club to qualify for nationals, in 1975 for barrel racing in Gallup, N.M.

Case will be among the best in Farmington. She is the third- ranked breakaway roper in Oregon after winning the buckle at the Oregon High School State Rodeo Finals at Redmond.

It has not always been so easy for Case.

Her horse, Swivel, used to be a heel horse, and she said they did not do well during that time.

Swivel was trained as a breakaway horse.

Case does not know how the horse got its name.

"(It) came to me with that name," she said, laughing.

Looking ahead, she said she has to rope two calves in three seconds to stay among the leaders in the average.

The NHSFR features more than 1,500 contestants from 39 states, four Canadian provinces and Australia.

Case is not intimidated by the size of the event.

"You don't have a lot to lose," she said.

She said she would be disappointed if she did not do well.

To follow the competition, visit www.nhsra.org daily for results.

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