Two Cody competitors made their mark on the Wyoming high school rodeo scene this past year, with top finishes in bull riding and trap shooting during the regular season and at the state finals in Gillette.
Colter Ellis won the season-long trap shooting title and took first at the Wyoming High School Rodeo Association state finals with a 95 score. It was his second state championship with a title in 2017 as well.
“This past shoot was the best shoot I’ve ever had,” Ellis said. “It wasn’t the best score I’ve ever had, but I had the best focus I’ve ever had.”
Zain Fitzgerald finished third at state in bull riding with a score of 71 and placed second overall during the season.
“State went really well,” Fitzgerald said. “I won the first round. The second round I came up a little short. In the third round I got called before the buzzer.”
Fitzgerald was the top bull rider at the Cody Nite Rodeo on Wednesday and said he is in the top five for bull riding at the Nite Rodeo this season. He plans to compete in the Nite Rodeo Finals later this month.
After he graduates high school next spring Fitzgerald said he plans to continue with his rodeo career in college and beyond.
“I’m either going to Sheridan College or Northwest College and then am going pro,” he said.
Ellis and Fitzgerald both performed well enough to qualify for the National High School Rodeo Finals in Rock Springs earlier this month. However, neither competitor was happy with their performance.
“I was one bird (shot) out of going to the last round,” Ellis said, “so I ended up with nothing sadly.”
Ellis took 27th.
Fitzgerald just missed the short round after a first ride that showed promise. His time was just under seven seconds.
“I should’ve just finished it out,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald put his hand down on his other ride.
Additionally at state, Ellis and his partner, Parker Rowe of Jackson, took 25th in team roping. Ellis also took seventh in tie-down roping.