Local student competes in National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette

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Photo by Heidi Frandsen

Carly Eversole, [email protected]

Rock Springs, Wyoming – Rodeo: broncs, steers, horses, ropes, reins, and shotgun shells? That’s right, in many states including Wyoming, shooting sports have become an integral part of high school rodeos. Shooters follow the same rodeo trail as a bronc rider or barrel racer would, except instead of bringing along a riggin or a 1200 lb animal, they come equipped with a .22 rifle or shotgun. Isaac Frandsen, a 15-year-old sophomore of Rock Springs, qualified for his first National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming in the summer of 2022 as a freshman.

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Frandsen, who has been involved in shooting sports from an early age with the local 4-H shooting program, found success last season shooting trap, but shoots a .22 rifle competitively as well. High school rodeos take place in towns around Wyoming, including Rock Springs, Torrington, Jackson, and Big Piney to name a few. Not every town along the regular Wyoming rodeo tour has a shooting range so shooting sports aren’t always an option, but for the towns that did have ranges, Frandsen was there. He explained going to a rodeo for shooting sports was just like going for another rodeo event. “You show up, sign in and head out to the range. We shot .22 rifles first and then trap shooting.” The shooting events take place all day Saturday on rodeo weekends.

Qualifying for Nationals was a process involving being one of the top 4 shooters at the State High School Finals held in Buffalo June 7-11. After achieving one of the top spots at State in trap shooting it was off to Gillette July 17-23 to compete at the national level. “Going into State wasn’t too nerve-wracking because I was shooting with the same kids I had been shooting with all year,” Frandsen explained, “but going into nationals I was nervous. It was the first time I had shot in front of a crowd!” The jitters must not have lasted too long as Frandsen went on to hit 91/100 clay pigeons landing him the 42nd spot in the Nation. A highly impressive finish, for this local young man, considering such a large pool of competitors from around the world.

Photo by Heidi Frandsen

Frandsen was representing Sweetwater County against not only kids from 48 states but 3 countries and 5 territories as well. Heidi Frandsen, Isaac’s mother, told Wyo4news her “favorite part of nationals was that it was so fun to talk to all the different kids and parents from other places around the country and to realize how big rodeo is all over the world.” Isaac, however, will get to enjoy home-field advantage for the remainder of his high school rodeo shooting career as both state and national finals will be returning to Rock Springs in the future. Having only been shooting trap for four years now, he is excited to continue shooting at the high school level and encouraged any younger participants thinking about joining the sport to “Practice a lot. Practice helps, have fun, talk to older people and get their advice and stay out of your head.”

The top picture of Frandsen is with his national qualifier belt buckle at Wyoming High School Rodeo State Finals in Buffalo and pictured lower with his 12 gauge TriStar shotgun before competing at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette. Currently, Isaac is working on earning money to purchase a new shotgun for his competitions.

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