Schlattmann in driver's seat heading into State Finals

Nathan Oster

Jake Schlattmann has been the dominant saddle bronc rider all season, winning 11 of the 14 competitions he's entered, and will be gunning for a state title later this week at the Wyoming High School State Finals in Rock Springs.

Very few prep athletes can boast of contending for state championships in two different sports, but Schlattmann is among them.  A recent graduate of Greybull High School, he finished second in his weight class at the state wrestling tournament on two different occasions, losing to truly elite grapplers each time.

It's been the same story in rodeo, where after his junior year he finished second in saddle bronc riding to Jace Longwell of Thermopolis.  Schlattmann led the points race going into the State Finals and had an excellent first ride, but lost valuable ground when the horse he drew for his second ride wouldn't buck. He was given the option of a re-ride and accepted, but got bucked off which resulted in no points. 

While Schlattmann regained his form on his third and final ride, it wasn't enough to overtake Longwell.

Schlattmann is hoping to make amends at this year's competition. He has been atop the saddle bronc standings all season, winning rodeos in Jackson, Wheatland, Laramie, Rock Springs, Casper, Sheridan and Buffalo.

"I feel like it's been a successful season so far," said Schlattmann, adding that he believes he's a better rider now than he was a year ago going into Douglas.  "It's in all the little things, the little details that you practice all the time and you get better doing as you get older."

Schlattmann will have a slight lead over his two closest pursuers this time around.  He ended the regular season with 137 points, followed by Roady Marsh with 116 and Ryan Nunn with 89.  But riders can only take the cumulative of their top 10 scores to the State Finals.  Each of Schlattmann's winning rides was worth 10 points, meaning he'll start with 100.  But at State Finals, more points are at stake. Wins are worth 20 points rather than 10, seconds 18 rather than nine ... and so on down the line.

"I feel good about how I'm riding, so I just want to keep it going," he said.

Schlattmann will see his first action at the State Finals today (Thursday, June 8).  When reached on Monday, he said he thought he'd be competing in the evening session but wasn't certain of that.  All he knew for certain was that he'd be ready to go, whenever his name is called.

After this weekend, Schlattmann hopes to turn his attention to the National Finals, which are July 16-22 in Gillette.  He placed seventh last year as a junior.  Beyond that, his sights are set on Sheridan College, where he will be a member of the rodeo team.