Now in Grade 11, Quinton Van Straten of Stettler is a veteran cowboy in the Alberta High School Rodeo Association circuit.
After a standout run at the junior high level, Van Straten has been competing at the high school rung since Grade 9, and his experience has showed in the first half of the 2013-14 high school rodeo season.
“The season has been pretty good,” said Van Straten, who won the tie-down roping buckle earlier this month at the Battle River High School Rodeo in Ponoka.
At the same rodeo, Van Straten and partner Brady Betlamini of Winfield placed second for the team-roping average.
The Ponoka event was a breakthrough weekend for another District 2 competitor, rookie Madelyn Schauer of Halkirk. The Grade 9 cowgirl won the barrel-racing and goat-tying events.
Schauer leads the District 2 pack in those events with just one rodeo — this weekend at Carstairs — left in the pre-Christmas schedule. The Carstairs event was added to the calendar this year and the Tees high school rodeo — traditionally held in the fall — has been moved to next spring.
This season began in late August with the Stettler rodeo, which was home cookin’ for the likes of Van Straten, Schauer and the other cowboys and cowgirls from the Stettler, Big Valley and Delburne regions.
When he wasn’t busy on his family farm, Van Straten was on the rodeo circuit last summer. He competed in the Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede on Labour Day weekend, the same weekend that he participated in the high school rodeo at Bowden.
Since then, he’s had high school events in Ponoka, Sundre and — just this past weekend — Rocky Mountain House.
At the Rocky rodeo, his highlight was a third-place finish in Day 2 steer-wrestling action Sunday.
Schauer kept on rolling in Rocky as she and partner Jenny Massing of Ponoka won the team-roping event.
This weekend in Carstairs, Van Straten might not be competing.
Other competitors, however, will be able to use Van Straten’s steer-wrestling and calf-roping horses.
“It’s important to have good horses, so more guys can ride them,” he said.
After the Carstairs rodeo, the Alberta high school season breaks for the winter before resuming in late April and running through the June provincial finals at Ponoka.
Among other District 2 competitors from the Stettler area are Hope and Luke Skocdopole, Allie Hiemstra, Brooke Cooper, Jaycee Davidson, Nikki Vanderlee, Shane Peters, Logan, Evan and Ty Spady, Grady Thomson and bull-riding newcomer Kyle Froese.