Garrett Bertamini competes in JR National Finals Rodeo in Vegas

Garrett Bertamini 2

Acme’s own Garrett Bertamini had the chance to compete under the big lights at the Junior National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas at the Convention Center. The 14 year old, who is in his fourth year of steer riding, participated in this event, which runs at the same time as the National Finals Rodeo, on December 7-9 in the 12-13 age level bull riding. Bertamini joined 26 other riders from Canada, the United States, and Australia in his age category.

Garrett’s rodeo journey began when he was eight, riding sheep, and he aspired to “be like the big kids behind the chutes who were steer riders, so I went to the Johansen Brothers Steer Riding School and that’s what started it all.” He got into steer riding and came to love “the adrenaline rush of the sport and of being just me against the bull. I also enjoy the people in rodeo; they are great people and very supportive.”

In order to qualify for the JR NFR event in Vegas, Bertamini had to win the qualifier in Stettler on September 15, and do so riding one-handed for the first time ever in his career. He was thrilled to have made it, and it was also the first time that Canada had sent competitors to the event, able to only send one competitor per age category to Vegas.

Bertamini unfortunately was bucked off both of his bulls at the JR NFR event, however the experience is still a major triumph in his career, and qualifying was his biggest win yet. Looking back on the event, Garrett says that “the whole Vegas experience was great including having to get sponsors and improve at one handed riding. In addition to meeting others from all over the world I had the opportunity to sign autograph sheets which was a very cool experience.”

The rodeo journey is far from over for Bertamini, as the main thing his experience in Vegas taught him is that “the bulls out there are really good and I need to continue working on my riding skills.”

Garrett competes again in the Mountainview Junior Rodeo in Cochrane on January 26th, and then at Small Spurs in Claresholm February 2-3. He hopes to qualify again for the JR NFR event in 2019, and to someday start riding bareback horses.