Konetzki plans to continue to pursue rodeo at Sheridan College

   Living in Sheridan, Wyo., there are few traditions more anxiously awaited than the Sheridan Rodeo. Nobody is a clearer visual incarnation of the rodeo than Sheridan High School senior Lainey Konetzki. Though she does not participate in any school sanctioned sports, Lainey’s athletic talent can be seen overwhelmingly in her success in Breakaway, Pole Bending, and Rodeo Queening in the Sheridan WYO Rodeo. 

   Konetzki has been a part of the rodeo for most of her high school career. She was initially hesitant to join in the events, but it was Sheridan High School science teacher Kelsey Ferguson who pushed her to venture outside of her comfort zone and join the rodeo. “She really helped me get going in rodeo, because I was scared of that group at first; she got my foot in the door,” says Konetzki. 

   Ferguson, who Konetzki credits with her involvement in the rodeo, chose to push Konetzki because of the strong potential she saw in her. “Lainey is well-spoken, highly educated, and has a passion for all things rodeo, not just the queening aspect,” said Ferguson. Konetzki has been working at Rodeo Queening since her freshman year. She has worked on her horsemanship and public speaking, among other qualities. Her hard work finally paid off in Spring 2020, her junior year, when she was crowned Rodeo Queen. “It’s been a while since Miss Wyoming got top ten, so that was really cool for me,” said Konetzki. 

   “Last summer at the National High School Rodeo Association Finals, Lainey placed in the top ten, with highlights being her speech about Wyoming,” said Ferguson. “It is important for Rodeo to have ambassadors like Lainey and she represents the state of Wyoming well at the national level.”

   Konetzki comes from a very supportive family; she credits her hard work ethic to her older brothers because she learned to follow their example. They have pushed her to excel in Rodeo as well. “With rodeo, it’s not going to come easy, it’s constant hard work,” said Konetzki. “If I want something, I’m going to have to work for it.” Each member of her family has taught her a different lesson that she integrates into her life. “My family gives a lot of support and has pushed me to experiment and do what I want to do,” said Konetzki.” They supported me no matter what.” Konetzki’s mother, Lisa Konetzki initially exposed her to horses and other animals. She grew up with animals, and made sure her children were also exposed to them. Konetzki’s participation in the Rodeo Queening events is highlighted by her horsemanship. In the past, some Rodeo Queens participated just for the name. Many had to take lessons just to make it through Rodeo Week. Changes were made to increase the importance of horsemanship in the Queening events, and it became more forefront. 

   Konetzki’s best friend, senior Addison Lucas, emphasizes Konetzki’s drive to succeed. One part of the Queening competition is the delivering of a speech. Both Ferguson and Lucas expressed that Konetzki’s speech and communication skills are among her best attributes. “Her best quality is being good with people and being able to talk in front of everyone.” said Lucas. Lucas points out that since joining rodeo, she has greatly improved her pole-bending skills. “She’s always had horsemanship, but she’s always worked with her horses with different events,” said Lucas. 

   Konetzki looks forward to college. She will be going on to Sheridan College to study biology, and she plans to join the rodeo team. Konetzki is not too worried about the future; she does, however, worry about those she will leave behind. “I don’t know how I’ll make another friend that’s like Addison,” said Konetzki. Konetzki closes her senior year with fond memories and appreciation for all that she learned inside and outside of the classroom.

   Konetzki is the daughter of Larry and Lisa Konetzki.


Konetzki smiles, donning her Rodeo Queen sash. (Ashley Cooper)