High school rodeo enthusiast Leah Tenpenny will participate in two national competitions next month.
An area teen-ager who won first place in the Kansas High School Rodeo 1999 state finals this weekend in Topeka said she's looking forward to doing well in a national event next month in Wyoming.
"This year I hope to do really good, because I've failed to do so in the last three years," said Leah Tenpenny of Valley Falls. "I just have to put it all together and do it."
Tenpenny -- the subject of a cover story in Sunday's Journal-World -- won first overall in the state competition.
She grabbed the overall title by taking first place in pole bending, second place in goat tying, ninth place in breakaway calf roping and 10th place in barrel racing.
Tenpenny, 18, was named end-of-the-year reserve champion, based on her overall point totals this year in rodeos sanctioned by the Kansas High School Rodeo Assn.
"I did well," she said of the Topeka competition. "I'm happy with everything but the barrel race. I didn't do as well there as I would have liked to."
Tenpenny will compete in the International Finals Youth Rodeo the week of July 12 in Shawnee, Okla. In that competition, no qualification is necessary, she said.
The following week she will go to Gillette, Wyo., for the National High School Rodeo Assn. Finals. The top four qualifiers from each state will be at that event, she said.
"I've been able to go every year since I was a freshman," she said of the national high school rodeo. "It's a lot of fun."
Tenpenny, who has never advanced beyond the first round of nationals in her strongest event -- pole bending -- hopes to do better this year.
"You're guaranteed at least two runs. They combine the times and you get an average, and the top 15 advance to the short run."
Tenpenny said she is hoping to be among the top 15 this year.
-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.