National Spotlight: Gabby Longwell wraps up state championship season with quick breakaway run at nationals

Courtesy photos
Focused and ready, Gabby Longwell enters the nationals arena where she locked down and impressive time of 3.82 seconds in the first go. She will continue to rodeo this summer before preparing for the junior high school season just three months away.

RJ Morgan

Most cowgirls spend a career trying to qualify for the a national rodeo. For Glenrock Junior High School incoming eighth grader Gabby Longwell, it’s become a habit. That’s one of many reasons she has become one of the best in her sport in Wyoming and around the country.
Longwell, who competes in nearly every event throughout the year, qualified for the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo June 18-24 in Perry, Georgia for the second straight year. While a possible national title will have to wait another season, she leaves the east coast with impressive showings in both events in which she qualified.
“The journey for my second year of qualifying for the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Perry, Georgia has been a good one. I have to give a big thanks to all of the supporters out there, especially my parents for taking me 28 hours with two horses,” she said during the long return home. “Taking care of my horses and being ready for competition were two of the biggest things that I focused on through out the week.”
When it came down to performing, Longwell didn’t disappoint. She didn’t make it amongst the top finishers in the average, but she did what many could not and that was qualifying for nationals in multiple events.
In breakaway rolling, Longwell finished seventh in her first performance with a great time of 3.82 seconds. She was solid also season and that’s why finished third at the state finals last month.
“When it came time to compete I was focused in on my run and not caring about anything else that was going on around me,” Longwell said. “Meeting new people and being able to go shopping every day was like living in paradise.”
Longwell also earned her spot at nationals in ribbon roping with her partner Wyatt Fenner of Moorcroft. The duo tied up the seventh best time in their first performance in 12.93 seconds. 
They didn’t ink a second time but it did not take away from a fantastic season. The tandem won the Wyoming state finals in May which secured their spot at nationals together.
This was her second year she qualified for nationals and will go for the hat trick next June when nationals moves to Iowa. In 2022, she qualified in pole bending.
Now that the big season is over, Longwell will unofficially begin the journey for another quest to compete against the world. She will spend the rest of her summer competing at some of the Wyoming Junior Rodeo Association rodeos over the next few months, the association that her grandparents started decades ago when her father was a child. 
“Gabby will also spend her summer riding all our horses and working on the young colts she hopes to ride this fall for barrels and poles,” said her mother, Connie.
Longwell said she will find some time to spend with friends as well, many whom are in the rodeo circuit as well. However, she will always keep her eye on the prize.
“I spent a lot of time with friends and making new memories in Georgia and I hope for more to come,” she said. 
“‘Til next time Perry (farewell) ... (it’s on to) Des Moines, Iowa next year to round out the junior high rodeo for me.”
Breakaway roping average
(top five and Longwell)
1. Braydee Bourdet, Hollister, Calif., 6.29; 2. Anistyn Abel, Hobbs, N.M., 8.07; 3. Dylynn Dewbre, Elmore City, Okla., 8.88; 4. Brynne McCully, Mullen, Neb., 8.98; 5. Tylie Siemsen, Worden, Mont., 9.18; 72. Gabby Longwell, Evansville, Wyo., 3.82
Ribbon roping average
(top five and Longwell)
1. Ta’Colton Calhoun, Anderson, Texas, Abbey Anderson, Cleveland, Texas, 21.63; 2. JW Boyd IV, Casa Grande, Ariz., Cauleen Segay, Window Rock, Ariz., 24.34; 3. Bailey Holmes, Mulberry, Kan., Cooper Charleston, Reeds, Mo., 25.53; 4. Slone Fleckinger, Cocoa, Fla., Aleah McKendree, Myakha City, Fla., 29.03; 5. HK Wilburn, Red Banks, Miss., Cy Webb, Byrdstown, Tenn., 30.08; 68 Gabby Longwell, Evansville, Wyo., Wyatt Fenner, Moorcroft, Wyo., 12.9


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