2 southern Ill. teens to compete in National High School Finals Rodeo

Local high schoolers headed to National Rodeo Championship.
Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 5:46 PM CDT
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ANNA, Ill. (KFVS) - High schoolers from southern Illinois are heading west to compete in a national rodeo championship.

We talked with two teens who are buckling down to bring home the hardware.

“It’s something that we look forward to for a very long time and it’s just amazing that it finally came true,” said Wesley Kuhnert, an Ava native.

Team ropers Hayden Travelstead and Wesley Kuhnert are headed to the 2023 National High School Finals Rodeo.

“It was definitely relieving, it was we made it here, we are. It’s just an amazing feeling it’s hard to explain,” Kuhnert added.

It was a quick ride and a split-seconds win and now they are planning a trip to Wyoming.

“It was a big relief. We worked hard for it all year and then finally came out there and put a few good runs together. It’s been tough all year just not being able to put runs together and sometimes being able to put a run together, but it was a bit relief,” said Hayden Travelstead, a Marion native.

Both Hayden and Wesley have been riding since they can remember; and they said making it to the finals was a dream of theirs for a long time.

“Feels pretty good knowing that we went out there and won them, but hopefully there’s many more to come,” Travelstead said.

Their season began in October and months of hard work led to a memory of a lifetime.

“It’s an accomplishment that I’m going to take with me for the rest of my life,” said Kuhnert.

They are competing against high school kids from across the country, including one from southeast Missouri.

The National High School Finals Rodeo is set for July 16-22.

More information on the finals can be found here.