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Sisters win rodeo titles on same day
June 24, 2016 Frank Marquez   

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Photo by Jill Saults/Special to the Citizen Libby Winchell, of Scottsbluff, in action at the National High School Rodeo Finals in Hastings, Nebraska, where she won her second state title in goat tying last Saturday.

Libby and Shelby Winchell of Scottsbluff may well have made rodeo history as siblings winning championships on the same day. While Libby was busy garnering the goat tying championship at the Nebraska High School State Finals in Hastings on June 18, Saturday, Shelby was taking care of business in the same event at the College National Championships at the Casper Wyoming Event Center.

Libby won her second state championship in goat tying with runs of 9.95, 9.30 and 7.94 posting her fastest time in the championship go-round. Thus, she easily qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming, the week of July 17-23 at the CAM-PLEX Multi-Event Facilities. The top four competitors in each event advance to Nationals. Last year, Libby finished as a reserve champion in goat tying at Nationals, and won the state title her freshman year.

At the finals in Hastings, Libby said “by winning state, I believed it would give me a little bit more of a boost going into Nationals. The feeling was about the same. The girl before me didn’t have a good run, and I knew all I had to do was go out and have a good run. It wasn’t like savoring the moment, but more like, I won state, now let’s go to Nationals.”

The Winchell family’s celebration continued throughout the day. “By the short round, I won state that afternoon,” Libby said. “Then that night at about 7 p.m., Shelby was wrapping up her win. My mom (Shawna) and I watched it on the road coming back home from Hastings. ESPN broadcast it live. Dad (Mike) was with Shelby.”

Representing the Chadron State College Eagles, Shelby secured the 2016 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Goat Tying Champion, going 6.3 and 6.1 in rounds one, two. In the finals, she clocked in with a 6.3 short run. She won the title with 315 points, an 85-point spread. Shelby said, “It was an amazing opportunity to continue my education, and rodeo for Chadron State as a grad student. It is an honor to be named and none of it could have been possible without the help of my family.”

Shelby said she plans to support sister Libby as she gets ready for a national title of her own. “I will continue to rodeo, train horses, and instruct goat tying clinics,” she said.

In the fall, Shelby will serve as the assistant rodeo coach at Sheridan Community College in Sheridan, Wyoming, and looks forward to seeing how well her student-athletes do in the Central Rocky Mountain Region.

As for Libby, she said, “I’m feeling good. Ready. Anxious.” She plans to keep to the same training routine, and will take her own goats to practice in Gillette. In the meantime, she plans to attend several rodeos to “stay on top of it, and keep competing,” she said. “We call it Cowboy Christmas, which runs from July 1-5. We’ll go to several rodeos; a sort of trailer race, going from one place to the next.”
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