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Rodeo Nebraska

Spring/Summer 2017

Ruth Nicalaus

LINCOLN, Neb. (April 17, 2017) - A competitive

streak runs through Tori Huffman’s veins.

The 18-year-old, a resident of Burwell, Neb., and a

member of the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association,

loves to compete.

And it shows. He was part of the Burwell High School

football team that won this year’s Class D-1 title, and he

was the state champion wrestler in the 182-pound division.

He excels in everything he does. As a linebacker and

running back for Burwell’s eight-man football team, he

was an all-state running back, setting a new Burwell High

School record with 2,272 yards of rushing in 2016. His

stats include 32 offensive touchdowns, one defensive

touchdown, and more than 100 tackles.

Huffman has wrestled at the 182-pound class for the

past three years, finishing his junior year 40-6 and wining

third at state. This year, as a senior, he was undefeated,

won state, and helped Burwell win the team title as well.

It isn’t easy to do two sports at once, but Huffman did

in the fall, combining football and rodeo. There were four

football games that happened on Friday nights and were

followed by a Saturday rodeo, and for home games with

rodeos farther away, his parents would have his horses

loaded in the trailer, parked at the football field, ready to

take off as soon as Huffman was done playing ball.

He was a little sore on Saturday mornings following

football games.

"It wasn’t fun waking up the next morning and getting

on a horse," he said. In high school rodeo, he competes

in the team roping, heeling for Nathan Poss, and in the

tie-down roping. Last year, he competed in the steer

wrestling.

And practice for two sports in the fall wasn’t simple,

either. Huffman would be at football practice until 6 p.m.,

then come home, load horses and take them to an arena 20

miles away, since the family lives in town.

Huffman excels in the classroom. He is on his school’s

A-B honor roll and received academic scholarships to

attend Chadron State College, where he will study ranch

management or range management. He has been in the top

10 in the FFA state range judging competition each of the

last three years, and was a member of the Burwell High

School team that won the state range judging in 2015.

Of his three sports, Huffman can’t pick a favorite. He

loves the team aspect of football, but in wrestling "really

likes to beat up on people," he said. "I’d have to say

wrestling is one of my favorites." But he likes rodeo,

too. "I love the connections I make with people, and the

friendships I make, and being able to make a connection

with the horses."

He’s a true competitor, says his high school football

and wrestling coach Luke Gideon. "He’s somebody you

want on your team. He’s just really confident and he

works really hard at being good at the little things, and

that has been a huge part of why we’ve had success here."

Huffman realizes it’s not all about him, too. "He’s a great

team player. He’s not in it just for himself," Gideon said.

Gideon likens his laid-back personality to a light switch.

"He’s real humble about things, but he has a switch he

flips when it comes time to compete. He is kind of fiery

when it comes down to it."

Huffman has chosen to play football at Chadron State

this fall, forgoing wrestling and rodeo.

He will compete at his fourth state high school finals

rodeo in Hastings in June in both of his events. He

finished 10th in the state last year in the team roping.

The Nebraska High School Finals Rodeo will be in

Hastings at the Adams Co. Fairgrounds June 15-17.

Tickets are $7 for everyone ages 5 and up and are available

through the office and at the gate. For more information,

visit

AdamsCountyFairgrounds.com

or hsrodeo-nebraska.

com, or call 402-462-3247.

Excellence on the field, the wrestling mat,

and in the arena

Burwell cowboy part of football, wrestling championships, and rodeo

Tori Huffman reaches for a steer at a Nebraska High School Rodeo in 2016.

The Burwell, Neb. cowboy excels in football, wrestling, and rodeo, and has a

competitive streak. Photo by Jill Saults.