Rifle’s Vondette wins Rookie of the Year title
Rifle’s own C.J. Vondette, 22, won the coveted title of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s Mountain States Circuit Barrel Racing Rookie of the Year.
The Mountain States Circuit is comprised of Colorado and Wyoming, with some of the top barrel racers in the world competing for prize money and awards.
Rock Springs, Wyo., was the host city for the 2012 Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo, where Vondette received the Rookie of the Year honor.
Ranked sixth going into the rodeo finals, Vondette made three solid barrel racing runs, placing second in the first go-round to another Rifle native Kim Schulze.
The second round saw Vondette again pick up a second-place check.
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The final round, held on Sat., Oct., 27, saw Vondette’s gray American quarter horse gelding Cache A Mount slip badly on the third barrel, costing precious seconds as she picked up a fifth-place finish.
In the average race, Vondette placed second, which moved her to the reserve circuit championship.
Earlier in October, Vondette represented the Mountain States at the All American Pro Rodeo Series Finals in Waco, Texas, where she earned just short of $1,400 with two fourth-place finishes against some of the top horses in the world.
Only 30 of the top barrel racers in the world were eligible to compete in Waco.
Casper, Wyo., hosted its Tribute to the Great American Cowboy Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeo on Thurs. and Sat., Nov. 1 and 3.
Vondette made the trek to Casper and rode home with the barrel racing title.
Vondette’s time of 14.83 seconds aboard Cache A Mount earned her a check for $1,242.
Schulze, was fourth with a time of 15.02 and a check for $769.
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Richard Miller and Allison Marcus were sentenced to 45, days in jail, 1,500 hours of useful public service and $100,000 of restitution on June 30, 2019, as their sentence for starting the Lake Christine Fire the prior year. They have made significant strides in fulfilling their debt to society, according to the district attorney’s office.