STEVENSVILLE – In a small arena off the backroads of Stevensville, Cole Trexler practices his craft that just earned him national recognition around a small audience of family members and friends.

While rodeo in Montana’s Wild West isn’t nearly as popular as it is in the eastern part of the state, that doesn’t diminish the talent in the West.

Corvallis native Cole Trexler proved that he’s not only the best breakaway roper in the state in his age division, but he’s the best in the country. After just graduating from grade school this year, Trexler won the breakaway roping title at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Tennessee.

“It was a good emotion, but I had to get on the saddle bronc steer after that so I was focused on that, too,” said Trexler, who also finished in eighth place in the saddle bronc steer. “But afterwards I was pretty happy and it was pretty fun.”

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As a Montana and Pacific Northwest native through and through, he had never gone farther than Oregon until this competition. But the pressure and travel didn’t affect the 14 year old.

“It was really different because the farthest I’ve ever been away from home was Oregon, but there’s mountains there,” Trexler said. “So it was kind of weird not seeing any mountains. Just the velocity is way different at the Finals.

“The pressure is a little bit bigger. But I just thought it was just another practice calf to go rope. So that’s just how I thought of it.”

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