After a decade of delivering in the rodeo arena, the dynamic duo saved their best for last, as they went out on top at the Illinois High School Rodeo Finals.
Keeley Buhrmester of Shelbyville and Douglas Rich of Herrick, the best young rounders in recent Shelby County history, competed at their final Illinois High School Rodeo Finals and they cleaned up. Buhrmester and Rich each won three individual state championships.
Buhrmester won the Girls Cutting Championship, the Pole Bending Championship, and the Barrel Racing Championship. Cutting involves a rider on horseback separating or cutting a calf from the herd. Pole Bending involves a rider on horseback weaving in between vertical poles against the clock. Barrels involves riding around a set of barrels for time.
Rich won the Calf Roping Championship, the Team Roping Championship, and the Boys All-Around Championship. Calf roping is a timed solo event where the rider has to rope the calf, jump off and tie it. Team Roping involves the first partner, the Header, chasing a calf and roping its horns. The other partner, the Heeler, ropes the calf’s back feet against the clock. All-Around Title is based on accumulated points in several events.
For their three state championships, each, Buhrmester and Rich won three saddles, as well as ornate belt buckles.
Buhrmester won the state title in the Barrels in 2011, was the Rookie of the Year in the IHSR Finals, and was named the All-Around State Finals Cowgirl. She was Reserve Pole Champion in 2012 and was 4th in Barrels in 2012. Buhrmester went into the IHSR Finals this year in 2nd place in both Cutting and Barrels. She was tops in pole bending coming in. At State, Buhrmester put it all together, winning the trifecta.
Rich, who won won the state team roping championship the last four years. Rich is always the Heeler, although he can do both. In 2011 and 2012, Rich won both the individual calf roping and the team roping titles. He was also Reserve All-Around at State in 2011. This year, he claimed calf roping and team roping again, plus added the All-Around Title.