by Kyle Egner
Over the life of the team, CHS rodeo coach, Ms. Pannell, has sent 22 kids to nationals and if the team continues showing promise as it has already, this streak doesn’t seem to be ending soon. Of the three rodeos, CHS has achieved great victory. Christian Cagle already placed top 10 in two events.
“Our rodeo this year was a phenomenal success!!! We had a blast!” said Coach Pannell.
Rodeo is a year-long sport, and broken into two sections. Students are off from December through February. The next rodeo will be the Southeastern Showdown National Tournament in Perry on November 8.
When asked what makes the sport so enjoyable Ms. Pannell stated “Just watching them grow, watching them improve from one to the other from year to year. –Just watching how they work with their animals–how they work with themselves as people and how they grow as athletes.”
Ms. Pannell has passed her love of rodeo to her children and hopes to continue to pass it on for generations to come.
Many freshman will start in the bottom 10%, but with each experience, Ms. Pannell explains that students improve and grow. Many Cherokee students have gone to nationals thanks to their dedication.
Even being in the low percent requires a foundation of knowledge and skills. Knowledge about horses and private trainers are a standard for any rodeo.
Resources are also extremely important in rodeo. An average horse can cost more than $14,000. The school has tried to lighten this investment for newcomers, however, and does have horses for students to use.
Even though the sport could potentially be a heavy investment, the National High School Rodeo Association grants thousands of dollars’ worth of scholarships per year.
The CHS rodeo team has had many champions.
National Championship Legacy
- 5 bull riders have qualified for nationals, including Matt Beardon in 2014 who placed 8th in the nation
- 2017-2019: State Barrel Champion- Morgan Felthman
- 2018-2019: Pole Champion – Jordan Woods (SR THIS YEAR)
- 2018-2019: Cherokee Valedictorian, Morgan Felthman, placed 10th in nationals in barrel racing.
- Two athletes recognized on Positive Athletes for Georgia: Morgan Felthman and Connor Bourn
- One bronc rider
- Eight barrel racers
- Two pole benders
- Six steer wrestlers
The CHS rodeo team participates in the following events:
- Barrel Racing
- Pole Bending
- Bull Riding
- Steer Wrestling
- Team Roping
- Tie down roping
- Goat Tying
- Bronc riding (saddle and bareback)
Can I still join rodeo?
Ms. Pannell said that it is not to late to join rodeo, although students will have to be self-pay at this point in the season. If students are interested in Cherokee Rodeo for next year, there are several training opportunities (both private and in group settings) to help improve individual skill set.
Be sure to follow Cherokee High on Facebook and support our participants in their next rodeo!