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Presidio team roper is state bound

April 13th, 2017 under Education » Sports
(photo courtesy of DAENA BAEZA) Sesar Baeza Jr., left, and cousin Cody Gonzales qualify to compete at the Texas High School Rodeo Association state finals this summer.

(photo courtesy of DAENA BAEZA)
Sesar Baeza Jr., left, and cousin Cody Gonzales qualify to compete at the Texas High School Rodeo Association state finals this summer.

By CAMERON DODD
cameron@bigbendnow.com

PRESIDIO — Presidio Senior Sesar Baeza, Jr. qualified last week to compete at the Texas High School Rodeo Association state finals in team roping. He is the first Presidio cattle roper to compete at the state level.

Baeza, 18, is a heeler and competes in team roping with his cousin, Cody Gonzales from Greenwood, Texas. Baeza and Gonzales placed seventh at the Texas High School Rodeo Association Region 2 finals in Sweetwater on April 8, qualifying them to compete at the state finals in Abilene on June 5.

Baeza does not have an official coach or rigid practice schedule. There’s no school rodeo team or club in Presidio. But he has little need for that. Baeza comes from a cattle-raising family and picked up roping from his father, Sesar Baeza, Sr., and uncle, Jesus Baeza. He has been roping since he was 12 years old.

“It’s all skills you use on the ranch,” Baeza told the Presidio International. He practices at the Baeza Cattle Company stockyard on live steers or a mannequin bull pulled behind a four wheeler.

Baeza competes atop a horse, a large grey horse named Jimmy who lives at the Baeza Cattle Company stockyards. He’s fast but knows how to stop on command well, traits Baeza said make a good roping horse.

“Jimmy is my best horse right now,” Baeza said. All rodeo events are quick but in team roping timing is crucial. The header catches the steer by the horns or neck, pulling it to the left to give the heeler a better shot at looping the hind legs.  Baeza shows a video on his phone of he and Gonzales competing at the regional finals. They break out of the gates and quickly rope the steer in what looks like a well choreographed routine. The whole thing is over in a few seconds.

The winner of the state finals will have the opportunity to compete at a national high school rodeo in Wyoming, Baeza is excited for state, he said. He will graduate from Presidio High School in a few months and then attend Angelo State University in the fall. Competing in the state finals for high school rodeo has been his goal for a long time.

Still, “Making it to nationals would be pretty awesome,” he said.

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