When the Colorado State Junior High School Rodeo Association kicked off its fall season, Rifle Middle School seventh-grader Colten Fritzlan was recovering from elbow surgery.
Taking the winter off and rehabbing didn't leave Fritzlan with any rust on the hinges; he came back stronger than ever for the first rodeos of the spring on Saturday and Sunday, March 30-31, in Cortez.
Fritzlan won the bull riding event both days, as well as the average.
In the breakaway roping, Fritzlan placed second with a 3.6 and fourth with a 6.2.
The team roping paired Fritzlan with Riley Beach from Loma. The team took the win on Saturday and finished fourth on Sunday.
Goat tying saw a third place and a fourth place finish for Fritzlan.
At the third and fourth rodeos of the season in Kiowa on Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7, Fritzlan won the bull riding both days.
Fritzlan currently leads the bull riding statewide and will be eager for his opportunity to compete as part of the Colorado team at the National Finals in Gallup, N.M.
Goat tying competition saw Fritzlan finish seventh and fifth, and he sits in eighth position statewide in that event.
In the chute dogging, Fritzlan was second and currently sits in sixth place statewide.
Breakaway roping and team roping saw Fritzlan come up empty in Kiowa. He is ninth in team roping and eighth in breakaway roping statewide.
High school rodeos
Rylie Gardner, a Grand Valley High School sophomore, was the lone high school competitor from the local area to compete in Cortez during the first Colorado State High School Rodeo of the spring season.
Gardner finished 12th in barrel racing on Saturday, and a hit barrel on Sunday took her out of competition.
Pole bending saw Gardner grab points for a 10th place finish.
In the statewide standings, Gardner sits 23rd in pole bending.
Dallas Rohrig, a Rifle High School junior, won the bull riding in Kiowa on Sunday and finished second Saturday.
Rohrig has a prominent lead in the statewide bull riding ranking and will compete at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo., later in the summer.
Gardner placed seventh and 11th in barrel racing and is 23rd statewide.
In National Intercollegiate Rodeo, Rifle's Brice Osborne is ranked second in the Rocky Mountain Region in bull riding.
Osborne, a freshman at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely, competes for the Spartan team in only the bull riding after an injury last fall in bareback riding.
Fellow Spartan and CNCC freshman Devon Vondette, also of Rifle, competes in barrel racing, breakaway roping and team roping at the NIRA rodeos.
At the Weber State University Rodeo in Ogden, Utah on March 1-2, Osborne placed fourth in bull riding and Vondette fourth in the long round, short round and in the average of barrel racing.
College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls hosted the Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo in addition to its regular season rodeo.
Osborne had a fourth place finish in bull riding at that rodeo after a series of rerides.
Vondette placed sixth in the barrel race after a tough shoot out round of competition.
Colorado Northwestern Community College held its first ever National Intercollegiate Rodeo on Friday and Saturday, April 5-6, at Columbine Park.
Osborne split the bull riding win on Saturday with a score of 74 points.
Osborne came back in Saturday's short round to split the average win with teammate Coty Cornia.
In the Rocky Mountain Region, Osborne tops the leader board as well as being ranked in the top 5 nationwide. He will look to compete in his first College National Finals later this summer in Casper, Wyo.
Vondette placed fifth in the long round of the barrel racing.
Unfortunately, an injured horse took Vondette out of short round competition and dashed her hopes for a college finals bid.
Vondette is currently in the top 15 in regional standings.
Rifle's C.J. Vondette tops the standings of the Women's Professional Rodeo Association's Mountain States Circuit.
Last year's rookie of the year won the first rodeo of the Circuit in Casper, Wyo., that put her at the top of the standings with a $1,242 payday.
A strong third place finish by only 0.01 seconds at Scottsdale, Ariz., moved Vondette to 84th in the world standing, and a $1,464 paycheck.
Vondette won a $1,000 paycheck for being the fan favorite in the Rodeo All-Stars professional rodeo held over the weekend of April 6-7 in Denver.
Vondette also won her competition bracket on Saturday for a $2,000 payday with her time of 15.311.
Advancing to the semi-finals, Vondette finished fourth overall with Fruita's Sammi Bessert taking the Rodeo All-Stars barrel racing title.
Junior high and high school competition move to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden on Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14.
Collegiate action will be at the Mesa County Fairgrounds in Grand Junction for the Colorado Mesa University Rodeo on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13.
Professional rodeo action has C.J. Vondette traveling to Logandale, Nev. and Red Bluff, Clovis and Oakdale, Calif.