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Corvallis teens win top honors at Junior High Rodeo

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CORVALLIS, Mont. - Two Corvallis teenagers have taken top honors at the Montana Junior High Rodeo finals in Townsend.

Cole Trexler and Paige Palin will head to the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Tennessee later this month.

Trexler, 14, is Montana's All-Around Cowboy. Palin, 13, is Montana's Reserve All-Around Cowgirl.

The two competitors are team roping partners and the best of friends.

"It's kind of like a brother-sister relationship," said Trexler.

"Yes," agreed Palin. "We're like siblings. We see each other just about every day."

NBC Montana met the teens as they practiced at an arena near Corvallis on Friday. They do a lot of practicing, and it's paying off.

"I won the ribbon roping, the chute dogging and the saddle bronc steer riding," said Trexler.

He will compete in all six of his events at nationals. He is in eighth grade at Corvallis Middle School.

Palin is in seventh grade at Corvallis.

"I'm coming into nationals third in barrels," she said, "third in team roping and first in ribbon roping."

The two are a team in ribbon roping. Both come from rodeo families.

"I have packed a rope in my hand ever since I could walk," said Trexler. "I always wanted to ride with my dad."

Cole's mom, Kari Trexler, and Paige's mom, Christi Sacks, were supervising the youngsters' practice session on Friday.

"I'm very thankful for all my horses," said Palin, "and everything my parents do to get me to state and nationals."

You might say rodeo is in their blood. But the sport takes a back seat to school.

"I always have to have good grades before I can leave (for rodeo)," said Trexler.

"You can't slack off," said the all-around cowboy. "You need to stay in your game. There's always that kid that's better than you and can beat you in the next event."

The team said rodeo teaches them to how to win and lose gracefully.

"Rodeo teaches me manners and good sportsmanship," said Palin.

She and her friend are ready to add to their already abundant trophy buckle collection.

"We're just going to go and try to keep everything clean," said Palin. "And go for the bust."

The 13th annual National Junior High Rodeo Finals will be held in Lebanon, Tennessee, June 18-24.

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