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Campbell off to a hot start in rodeo career

Kolt Campbell,left, and his father, Toby, help Kolt prepare for the National High School Finals Rodeo next month in Wyoming. Kolt, a freshman at Kingman High School, recently won the team roping competition at the Arizona High School Finals Rodeo. When Toby was in high school, he went to the national finals as well, but he had to wait until his senior year to accomplish the feat.

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GOLDEN VALLEY - Kolt Campbell's interest in roping is traced to the day his grandfather bought him a rope when he was 2. According to his mother, Katina, "he's never put a rope down since."

He started roping steers when he was 7 and started competing in rodeo this year. Now, as a freshman at Kingman High, he has done something that took his father till his senior year to do - qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo.

"I'm happy that I got to make it to nationals this year being a freshman," Kolt said.

Campbell (heeler), along with his partner Trey Blackmore (header) won the Arizona State High School Finals Rodeo team roping competition last weekend in Payson, roping all three steers, having the fastest time the first day and the second-fastest time the second day.

Currently the pair is ranked No. 1 in the Arizona High School Rodeo Association heading into the NHSFR, which will be held July 17-23 in Gillette, Wyo.

"For a young man coming on, he has as much opportunity as anyone going," said Kolt's father Toby, who qualified for the high school finals in saddle bronc and currently owns Campbell Performance, where he trains and sells horses on their 20-acre property.

"As long as he keeps his head on straight and continues the good work ethic and keeps riding good horses, which I'll make sure of, he will have a bright future."

Kolt is hoping that his future will someday include a trip up U.S. 93 to Las Vegas for the Nationals Finals Rodeo. He wants to follow in the footsteps of a couple of Arizona cowboys he looks up to, seven-time world champion in team roping and tie down, Clay Cooper, and last year's ninth-place NFR finisher, Cesar de la Cruz.

"I like the way he ropes - it's the way I rope," said Kolt of de la Cruz who, like Campbell, is also a heeler. Kolt picks up some tips by watching him rope. "Hopefully I can make it to the NFR someday."

The NFR is a few years away, as the 15-year-old Kolt has to wait till he's at least 18 in order to become a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

In the meantime, he continues to train with the help of his dad and his 10-year-old mare, Johnny, who gets her name from the owner of the stud she's a descendant of, John Elway.

The two will go out on their ranch just off of Highway 68 in Golden Valley and rope steers. And Kolt will stay humble and not rub in the fact that he made the high school finals rodeo his freshman year, and his father had to wait till his senior year.

"He should rub it in, though," Toby said.


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