Austin grad all set for National High School Finals Rodeo

Published 8:57 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A year after a tornado got in his way, Mitch Morem is looking for redemption as prepares for the National High School Rodeo Finals, which take place in Gillette, Wyo. July 18-24.

Morem took first place in steer wrestling at the Minnesota state finals in Hugo, Minn. June 21 and this is will be his second trip to nationals.

Last summer, Morem was all set for the state finals when a tornado caused extensive damage to his home a day before he was to go to state. When he got to state, he finished fifth (the top four advance to nationals).

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“I’ve been working on this for four years now. I’ve been trying to keep my points up, because I always do pretty well during the season and the past two years I’ve choked during state finals,” said Morem, who graduated from Austin High School this spring. “I finally kept it together in the finals this year.”

Now Morem hopes to redeem himself at nationals. Two years ago he didn’t have his best showing and he failed to place.

“Last time I went, I completely looked like a fool and it didn’t turn out good,” he said. “This year I’m bringing my own horse and my goal is to make it to the top 25.”

The trip to a state title in steer wrestling was a journey full of hard work for Morem, who started watching the sport in fourth grade and he has been attending a summer clinic in Texas since he was in seventh grade.

Besides competing at nationals, Morem will have a busy summer as he will also compete professionally. Morem has his Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association card and he’s already signed up for a couple of rodeos this summer.

He will also wrestle steer and team rope at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D. next year.

“I’ve heard college rodeos are a lot of fun,” Morem said. “What I’d like to eventually do is tour the circuit and go around the country and hit big rodeos. My lifetime goal is go to National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.”

Morem isn’t too worried about the physical aspect of jumping from a moving horse onto a 500-pound steer, and then tackling that steer to the ground — after all he did play high school football at Austin.

Morem finished his senior year at defensive tackle, where he had 31 tackles, 4 sacks and one interception, and he said that steer wrestling helped him out on the gridiron.

“Steer wrestling helped me out with a football a little. It’s all about using good form and leverage. I can apply that to both things,” Morem said.

The NHSRF brings more than 1,500 competitors together from around the country and it is considered the largest rodeo in the world.