Middle Park cowboys head to Nationals

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(L to R) Foster Krempin, Rudy Mendiola, Jr. and Stran Lechmam. Foster is the son of Tish and Tony Krempin of Granby, Stran is the son fo Sami and Shawn Lechman of Kremmling, and Rudy,Jr. is the son of Ana and Rudy Mendiola of Silverthorne. (courtesy photo)
(L to R) Foster Krempin, Rudy Mendiola, Jr. and Stran Lechmam. Foster is the son of Tish and Tony Krempin of Granby, Stran is the son fo Sami and Shawn Lechman of Kremmling, and Rudy,Jr. is the son of Ana and Rudy Mendiola of Silverthorne. (courtesy photo)

Middle Park raised cowboys are heading to Des Moines, Iowa next week to compete in the National Junior High Finals Rodeo (NJHFR) from June 20-26.

The young men competed throughout the year to earn the top spot to represent Colorado in their events.

Foster Krempin, a 15 year old, qualified in two of his events, chute dogging and tie down roping. Thirteen-year-old Summit County resident, Rudy Mendiola qualified in team roping. He is a heeler. Stran Lechman the youngest of the group is only 12 years old. The Kremmling native qualified in break away roping.

photo by Kim Cameron | Stran Lechman also team ropes. Here is heads for his older sister Sage. Rodeo is often a family sport.



Lechman admits it is not easy to earn the coveted spots in the state that will send you to Nationals. He and his father traveled many miles to rodeos across Colorado to qualify for the State Finals in Craig, Colorado over Memorial Day weekend. Lechman explained they accumulated points throughout the rodeo season and would get 10 points for a win, 9 points for second and 8 points for third place. He explains he always gave it his best, and his goal was to catch and be as consistent as he could be throughout the season to earn those points.


photo by Kim Cameron | Foster Krempin catches his calf in the tie down roping and prepares to dismount to tie three of its legs together. It is timed event and speed matters.



A common theme for these athletes is that rodeo is their sport of choice, how they play, and how they work. Mendiola went on his first cattle drive when he was only eight months old. It was an eight mile ride and he was hooked. He began roping when he was 10 years old and he practices year-round. He also helps his father who manages a ranch in Silverthorne. Mendiola is animated when he talks about heading to Des Moines. He uses the words fun and exciting! He also hopes to bring back the “pay-out.” Most of all he is looking forward to being with his friends.

photo by Kim Cameron | Rudy Jr. heels for his dad at the practice roping. Rudy Jr. says he always “lets his rope lay” say he catches and he always tries to keep
his horse wide coming out the roping box so that he doesn’t hit the steer. Rudy, Sr. appreciated the Grand County Commissioners and staff who make it possible to rope at the Kremmling arena in the summer.
photo by Kim Cameron | Rudy Jr. heels for his dad at the practice roping. Rudy Jr. says he always “lets his rope lay” say he catches and he always tries to keep his horse wide coming out the roping box so that he doesn’t hit the steer. Rudy, Sr. appreciated the Grand County Commissioners and staff who make it possible to rope at the Kremmling arena in the summer.



A press release from the National Junior High Finals Rodeo, explains that contestants are competing for the title of World Champion, more than $80,000 in prizes, $200,000 in college scholarships and over $100,000 in added money.

photo by Kim Cameron | Foster Krempin dogs his steer out the chtue. This event does not require a horse.
photo by Kim Cameron | Foster Krempin dogs his steer out the chtue. This event does not require a horse.