Gunter leads pole bending after first go

Brooklyn Gunter, Sulphur sophomore at the time, was named pole bending champion at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette in 2016.

Rodrick AndersonRodrick Anderson Prep Sports Reporter

Sulphur High junior pole bender Brooklyn Gunter leads the Southwest Louisiana contingent at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming, after the first-go round.

Gunter leads the standings after the first go with a time of 20.142 seconds in the Monday evening performance at the Sweetwater Events Complex.

She owns a 0.096-second lead over Destiny Shafer (20.238) of Waddell, Arizona.

Gunter was the 2016 national pole bending champion but finished 17th last year. Last year’s runner-up, Shay Hough (Gillette, Wyoming), was third at 20.407 while defending champion Mikayla Joh Almond (Olin, North Carolina) was eighth at 20.477.

The second-go round started on Wednesday and will wrap up today with the top 20 in each event advancing to Saturday’s short go.

Gunter is one of six cowboys and cowgirls from Southwest Louisiana ranked in the top 10 in their respective events after the first go.

Britt Buller (Kinder) and Clay McDaniel (Deville), the state team roping runners-up, were in second place after a first-round time of 5.43 seconds and trailed leaders Grady Quam (Crossfield, Alberta) and Dillon Graham (Wainwright, Alberta) by .60 seconds.

State champion saddle bronc rider Coy Hebert (Welsh) was fifth after a 73-point ride, five points behind leaders Parker Fleet (Axtell, Texas) and Ben Anderson (Eckville, Alberta).

In breakaway roping, Abigail James (Rosepine) was sixth (2.60 seconds), Cameron Gotreaux (Lacassine) was ninth in steer wrestling (4.93 seconds) and Allison Melsheimer (Dry Creek) was ninth in girls cutting (145.5 points).

The rodeo features more than 1,000 cowboys and cowgirls from 43 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia.