Oakley native steers new direction | ParkRecord.com

Oakley native steers new direction

Ben Barenholtz , OF THE RECORD STAFF

Does chasing after a steer on horseback, leaping from your horse and wrestling a 450-650-pound animal to the ground by its horns sound like fun? It is for Jake Woolstenhulme of Oakley.

"It’s a little bit intimidating," he admits, "but more than anything it’s just a rush."

Woolstenhulme qualified for the 2010 College National Rodeo Finals (CNRF), known as the "Rose Bowl" of college rodeo, with over 400 cowboys and cowgirls competing at the Casper Events Center in Wyoming this week.

After the first two rounds Woolstenhulme is currently sitting at 15th in steer wresling, and expects to make the finals on Saturday.

"I drew a couple of runners," he said, meaning the two steers he drew to wrestle in the first two rounds ran hard and fast out of the gate, making his task all the more difficult. He scored an 8.5 on his first run and a 5.5 on the second.

"If I get a good run in the last round, I’ll make the short round," he said.

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The CNRF has three preliminary rounds. The scores from these rounds are tallied and the 12 contestants with the fastest times and highest scores advance to the final "short round" championship on Saturday, June 19.

A senior at Utah Valley University (UVU) in Orem, Woolstenhulme has been competing in rodeo since he was a kid, coming from a rodeo family. His younger sister competes in high school rodeo and his little brother is getting started, competing at the junior high level. His father used to compete in steer wrestling and currently judges pro rodeos.

"I’ve been around rodeos my whole life," he said.

Woolstenhulme went to South Summit High School until he was a senior when he transferred to Wasatch. He wrestled steers at the rodeo all four years of high school and placed second in the state his senior year.

Not only does Woolstenhulme wrestle steers, but people as well. He competed on the high school wrestling team with a lot of success. He placed second at state as a freshman and third as a sophomore. He missed competing during part of his junior year because of sickness, but came back and placed second again his senior year. He was recruited by UVU to wrestle at the college level, but decided to focus on rodeo.

This is the third time he has qualified for CNRF in steer wrestling. He placed second in the Rocky Mountain region his freshman year of college and qualified for nationals that year.

Woolstenhulme has been lucky enough not to suffer any injuries this season himself, but his horse has been sore and unable to practice for three months.

"I’ve been babying him," he said. "He had an abscess of his foot and we had to soak him to try to draw it out."

Woolstenhulme was married in February and plans to finish school in the fall.