ARCANUM – Three local students recently qualified for the National High School Rodeo Finals in Rock Springs, Wyo. and the National Junior High Rodeo Finals in Huron, S.D. Not only are all three from Darke County, but all three are siblings. Alexia Hess, Blayne Hess and Ayden Hess, children of Greg and Carolyn Hess, of Arcanum, began competing in rodeo events at a young age and are a select few chosen to compete in these events. The high school division takes place July 14-20 and the junior high division is the following week.
Alexia Hess, 18, recently finished her senior year at The Miami Valley Career Technology where she took Agriculture and Livestock production. She will be attending UNOH where she is majoring in Ag Business. She started the sport of rodeo at the age of eight with the Ohio Junior Rodeo Association where she has won numerous events, Reserve All Around Cowgirl, All Around Cowgirl, awards and belt buckles. She then joined the Ohio High School Rodeo Association her freshman year. She has since qualified twice for Nationals. Only the top four contestants from each event can go. She has competed in Barrels, Pole Bending, Goat tying, Breakaway Roping and Team Roping. This year she will be representing Ohio in Pole Bending. She will continue the sport that she loves so much through college with the IBRA, NBHA, NPBA and many other open shows and rodeos.
Blayne Hess, 16, will be starting his junior year at Arcanum High School this August. He has been in the sport of rodeo since he was six. That was when he started mutton busting which then moved on to calf riding, steer riding, mini bull riding and then bull riding at the age of 13. He also started out with the Ohio Junior Rodeo Association, where he has been reserve champion bull rider and champion bull rider numerous years. He joined the Ohio High School Rodeo Association (junior high division) his eighth grade year. He has qualified for nationals every year since. He has competed in chute dogging, bull riding, light rifle shooting and trap shooting. This year he had a bit of set back and had to take some time off after he broke three ribs and punctured a lung after getting stepped on by a bull. He will be representing Ohio as champion trap shooter and champion light rifle shooter at nationals.
Ayden Hess, 14, of Arcanum will be starting his eighth grade year at Arcanum this August. He started the sport of rodeo at age three with the Ohio Junior Rodeo Association. He has since competed in mutton busting, mini bull riding, speed and control, goat tying, roping and chute dogging. Ayden joined The Ohio High School Rodeo Association (junior high division) his sixth grade year. He has also qualified for nationals each year in chute dogging and light rifle shooting.
At nationals, the Hess children will compete against the best of the best from Mexico, Australia, Canada and the United States. Mom and dad pointed out, “It’s a lot of traveling, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”