BY KRIS BLANKMAN
Coming to the Golden Spike Event Center March 1-4, is the 12th Annual Intermountain Icebreaker Rodeo.
Utah has 565 High School student-athletes and 221 Junior High school athletes that are members of the National High School Rodeo Association and are eligible to enter. Sixty of those youths are members of the Spikers High School Rodeo Club based in Ogden, Utah, and 25 are members of the Wasatch Jr. High Rodeo Club based in Ogden, Utah. Northern Utah also has quite a growing number of students who are members of the District 9 rodeo club for Idaho. The NHSRA rules state that all 2023 fifth grade and under, Junior High, and High School students are eligible to participate. It is open to all students in the United States and Canada. To date, there are entries from 19 US states and 1 Canadian province. The average number of entries over the last few years has been between 700-750 students with event entries as high as 1500.
The Icebreaker Rodeo is part of the NHSRA Western Legacy Series. It was started by Ben German from the Broken Heart Rodeo Company. He partnered with the Weber County Golden Spike Event Center along with support from the National High School Rodeo Association, Cinch, The American Quarter Horse Association, and others to produce this event. This rodeo has grown to help promote the sport of rodeo and to promote membership in the National High School Rodeo Association. Ben says that the support Weber County gives to this event is wonderful and that the revenue brought into the community is about a million dollars of positive economic impact.
The Icebreaker rodeo has had some amazing young men and women participate and move on to become professionals. Stetson Wright is the current PRCA All-Around and Bull Riding World Champion; he has seven career world championships that includes 4 All Around (2019-2022), 2 Bull Riding (2020, 2022) and 1 Saddle Bronc Riding (2021).
One of the benefits of participating in a rodeo of this size and caliber is being exposed to the high level of competition from around the country and the stress that accompanies it—young men and women learn how to compete and manage the pressure of competition. It also gives students a chance to see how they fare against others their age from different areas.
Along with the top-notch competition, there will be a variety of western vendors. Thanks to many national and local sponsors the Icebreaker has $82,500 in prizes with 28 saddles and 296 buckles to award. The rodeo is much more than an event; It is a sport that teaches hard work, dedication, resilience, hustle, responsibility, good sportsmanship, and heart. Wishing all the young contestants the best of luck!
Photos by Melissa Spelts