Fernley High School rodeo club sending 4 to national finals

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

Led by 2017 all-around champion Dario Ceresola, four members of the Fernley High School rodeo club have qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo July 16-22 in Gillette, Wyo.

In addition, the Fernley club produced two Junior High National Finals qualifiers, including the Junior High state all-around champion, Daunte Ceresola, and had five members compete at last week’s Silver State International Rodeo in Winnemucca.

Another Fernley cowgirl, Jayce Blake, who competes independently, won the girls all-around title at the Silver State International Rodeo, which was held July 3-8.


In addition to finishing as the boys all-around champion, Dario Ceresola qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in five different events.

The top four finishers in each event after the State finals qualify for the NHSFR, while those who place fifth through 15th qualify for the SSIR.

Ceresola finished fourth in boys cutting, third in reined cow horse, second place in team roping as a header, third in tie down roping and fourth in rifle shoot. In addition, he qualified for SSIR by finishing fifth in trap shooting.

Cody Alexander finished second in bull riding to qualify for NHSFR; Garrett Weltzin qualified in team roping by finishing in first place as a header, and was seventh in boys cutting to qualify for SSIR; and Garret Bunyard finished second in the state in boys cutting to qualify for NHSFR and 11th place in reined cow horse to qualify for SSIR.

Audrey King qualified for SSIR in three events, finishing 13th in the state in pole bending, 10th in goat tying and sixth in ribbon roping. At SSIR, she placed 11th in poles, 10th in goat tying and 12th in ribbon roping.

Daunte Ceresola finished first in the state junior high standings in goat tying, second in breakaway roping, second in chute dogging, first in ribbon roping, second in rifle shoot and first in team roping as a heeler, qualifying for the Junior High Finals in all six events and winning the state all-around title. At the JH Nationals, he placed sixth overall in the first go-round in goat tying.

Kaden Florez was a Junior High Nationals qualifier in goat tying, finishing second in the state, and qualified for SSIR by finishing sixth in ribbon roping, ninth in team roping, and eight in breakaway roping. He placed 12th overall at SSIR in ribbon roping.

The directors for the Fernley club this year were Joey McKnight and Craig King.

The National High School Finals Rodeo is the world’s largest rodeo, featuring more than 1,750 contestants from 43 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia. In addition to competing for more than $200,000 in prizes, contestants will also be competing for more than $350,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named an NHSFR World Champion. To earn that title, contestants must finish in the top 20, based on their combined times/scores in the first two rounds, to advance to Saturday evening’s final round. World champions will then be determined based on their three-round combined times/scores.

The Saturday championship performance will be televised nationally as part of the Cinch Highschool Rodeo Tour telecast series on RFD-TV. Live broadcasts of each NHSFR performance will also air online at Performance times are 7 p.m. on July 16 and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day thereafter.

Complete daily results are available at

Photo courtesy Shannon McKnight
Members of the Fernley High School rodeo club are, from left to right: Cody Alexander, Daunte Ceresola, Garrett Weltzin, Audrey King, Kaden Florez, Garret Bunyard and Dario Ceresola. Not pictured is Graesyn Birkel.

One thought on “Fernley High School rodeo club sending 4 to national finals

  • Kaden Florez was also 11th in team roping and 8th in rifle shoot as SSIR. Signed his grandmother 😉


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