WHITEHALL — Back in June, MTN Sports shared the special connection between Dalaney Scafani and her horse, Oakley. Fresh off a state title in pole bending, the Whitehall duo was gearing up for the High School Rodeo National Finals in Guthrie, Oklahoma -- a stage they both were unfamiliar with.
“It was definitely nerve-racking. I know my horse (Oakley) wasn't used to it and I wasn't used to being on that big of a rodeo," said Scafani. "But it was a good experience to learn how to deal with that.”
The experience gave Scafani a handful of valuable lessons that she now gets to use as she prepares for the upcoming high school season and a repeat trip to next year’s nationals.
“Being able to ignore the stuff you can’t control and to be able to go into here and lay down a run," Scafani said of what she learned. "We’ll be better at that next year, we’ll be more seasoned and ready to go.”
Scafani's return home may have been a bittersweet moment. Bitter because she didn’t bring back a belt buckle, but sweet because the Whitehall community embraced her with tons of support. Right alongside her this whole time was her family, every step of the way.
“There was definitely the support, and being able to do that as a family was fun, it was the highlight of the year," she said.
Scafani's senior year of high school kicks off in less than a few weeks and there’s a lot she’s looking forward to. But above all, she, along with so many incoming high school seniors, is just hoping that life starts to get back to the way it used to be.
“I’m looking forward to it being normal," she said. "COVID has been crazy, and I know a lot of the stuff going back to school is going to be a little different than what we’re used to. But hopefully we can just keep it going and get things back to normal.”