HELENA — Helena's Dylan Burger started rodeo’ing at just six years old. Now, at just 13 he will make the four-day trek to Perry, Georgia to compete in the National Junior High Finals Rodeo for his second time after an impressive go at state.
“You gotta be in the top four to make it to Nationals. And I was first in the bareback, fourth in the goats, fourth in the team roping, and then second in the breakaway,” he said.
At nationals, he will be competing in bareback steer riding, breakaway, goat tying, team roping, and ribbon roping. His team roping partner is Royce Levine, who hails from Augusta, MT.
His rodeo’ing was inspired by his family. His favorite event is team roping because he gets to practice at home.
“My dad team roped, and he just kept showing me how to rope the dummy. And I kept roping the dummy. And then my sister started doing it. And we got into it,” he said.
His goal for nationals is to “go down there, do our thing. And have fun,” he said. He recalls his trip to nationals last year being “ fun, hot and humid”.
His 2021 national trip didn’t end the way he would have hoped.
“I did okay in the bareback. I was like 26th. So I didn't make it back to the short round. But it was my sixth grade year,” he added.
Now that he’s a whole year older, he has big ambitions for his upcoming trip to Perry.
“I'm hoping to make it back in at least three of my events to short. Go and do good down there.”
The National Junior High Rodeo Finals will host about 1,200 contestants from around the US, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and Australia. They will be competing for over $80,000 in prizes, along with over $200,000 in college scholarships.