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Young rodeo stars Hayden and Piper Bigney thrive at Vegas event

Hayden and Piper Bigney were among the 840 contestants from Canada and the U.S. at the Vegas Tuffest Jr. World Championship.

CARNDUFF - Two young rodeo competitors from Carnduff had great showings at the recent Mike and Sherrylynn Johnson Vegas Tuffest Jr. World Championships in Las Vegas.

Piper Bigney and her brother Hayden were entered in the event. Piper ended up in 18th in the 15-and-under girls' breakaway roping out of 87 competitors. Hayden was 32nd out of 69 boys in the 19-and-under boys' tie-down roping.

Piper said seeing the competition proved to be a great experience. She had to stay calm and prevent her nerves from getting the best of her.

"The girls were roping really fast. The American girls, I will say, they're tougher … because they get to practise more. It was some tough competition," said Piper.

She compared breakaway to tie-down roping, except you don't get off your horse and tie a calf. The object is to rope the calf, stop the horse and once the rope breaks off the saddle horn, the time stops. She had two attempts, with a time of 2.8 seconds the first time and 3.9 seconds on the second effort, but she broke the barrier on her start for the second run, so she was assessed a 10-second penalty. The foul kept her from advancing to the next round, which was for the top 15 competitors.

"The older girls, they've been roping 1.9 [seconds] and are extremely fast," said Piper.

Piper said breakaway is her favourite rodeo event and it is her best, along with team roping.

She still might be able to compete in the under-15 division again next year, depending on when she qualifies next year. If there is a competition before she turns 16, she would be able to remain in U15.

Piper believes the experience will be beneficial.

"It will build my courage, knowing that I'm able to compete against them and … knowing how good I am, how much I can push myself to be better and not let the nerves get to me," said Piper.

Hayden said it was also a great experience to go to Nevada. They have been to the National Finals Rodeo before, so they know what the competition is like, but it was cool to be at the event for younger competitors.

The one they were at was well organized with lights, sounds and other efforts to add to the experience.

In the first round, he finished with a time of roughly 19 seconds, and in the second, he was just over 18 seconds.

"I do wish that I was a little bit faster, but I am glad that I still got to rope," said Hayden.

The kids who won posted times of nine, 10 or 11 seconds for each of their runs.

"They all come from Texas, Nevada and places like that, and it's cowboy shirt weather down there all year … so they get the opportunity to rope more than we do."

Tie-down is his favourite, event, along with steer wrestling, he said. Hayden said he likes how tie-down roping always provides a different challenge.

"I always get an adrenaline rush from it, getting off the horse to tie down a calf," he said.

Hayden noted that he and Piper shared the same horse at the event.

The international event was an eye-opener to see how good he has to be to compete with the top kids.

"I have done better … I do have faster times that I have had, but just being able to rope for the first year, and hopefully be able to make it back next year, and come back stronger and be able to compete better [will be great]," said Hayden.

He hopes that they can make it back to the event next year. He would still be competing in under-19 boys.

The Bigneys were among the 840 contestants from Canada and the U.S. at the Vegas Tuffest Jr. World Championship. The event happened from Dec. 1-5, during the first weekend of the National Finals Rodeo.