Gonzales rodeo athletes head to high school finals in Abilene


Rodeo season continues with 10 local Gonzales athletes heading to the Texas High School Rodeo Association finals in Abilene, Texas Thursday, June 6 through Saturday, June 15.

Briggs Hand of Gonzales; Logan Ciscernos of Nixon; Buck Garza of Gonzales; Sutton Albert of Gonzales; Aubrey Thibodeaux of Gonzales; Brody Browne of Gonzales; Ryland Condel of Gonzales; David Shelton of Gonzales; Addy Kardosz of Gonzales and Paisley Gibson of Gonzales all will have a shot at making it to the National High School Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyo.

The rodeo finalists all are excited to be heading to the finals in Abilene.

“I feel very confident heading into state finals this year because I feel that my horses are ready and this is my second year, so I don’t have my first time nerves.  I have competed at state every year since seventh grade,” Kardosz said.

“I’m really pumped that I get to head to Abilene for my second year in a row for the state finals,” Thibodeaux added.

“I feel lucky and honored to have made it to finals with not much experience in saddle bronc,” Condel said.

“It feels good going to Abilene since I’ve worked hard to get there,” Albert said.

“Excited and a good feeling to be able to compete in the state finals,” Hand added.

“I’m very excited to go and get to compete with a lot of my friends,” Browne said.

“This is my last year. It is sad but I am excited at the same time,” Garza replied.

Several of the athletes will be competing in one event and some will take part in multiple events: Kardosz (barrel racing, breakaway roping and pole bending), Garza (team roping), Condel (saddle bronc), Thibodeaux (barrel racing, breakaway roping and pole bending), Albert (saddle bronc), Hand (team roping), Browne (team roping), Cisneros (team roping), Shelton (steer wrestling) and Gibson (breakaway roping).

Thibodeaux and Kardosz are the only ones taking part in multiple events during the rodeo finals.

“The fun part of my job is that no matter what I do out in the arena, I’m winning because I get to do what I love because of the mighty God I serve, but most of all, my favorite part is roping the necks and getting to ride the amazing horses that I get to,” Thibodeaux said. “The most challenging part is definitely the mental game. I just try my best to give it my all out there and stay focused and positive.”

“The most fun part is getting to make a connection with your horses and knowing them and getting to grow with them and being successful. One of the most challenging parts is when you have been practicing a lot and you can figure out what’s going on. Sometimes it’s you and sometimes it’s your horse. You have to figure it out,” Kardosz said.

Albert enters the state finals as the Region 6 champion in saddle bronc and he said it feels great to represent Gonzales and he is setting his eyes on making it to nationals.
Several of the athletes have been participating in the rodeo since they were young and for some, it’s family tradition.

“This summer will be three years. My dad and mom did ranch rodeos and my brother also rodeoed along with other family, so that is what inspired me,” Hand said.

“I have been riding and competing ever since I was five years old and doing TJHRA since I was in the sixth grade. My mom and dad both rope and it is in my blood,” Garza said.

“I’ve been rodeoing for about six years now. I have been around horses most of my life, but just became interested in rodeoing in fifth grade. I had a really good family friend, Loni Lester, that helped me start riding and I’ve loved it ever since,” Kardosz said.

“I've been around horses and everything my whole life and my brother and dad and mom all rodeo, so I just wanted to join in on the fun,” Browne said.

“I’ve been rodeoing most of my life and I enjoy roping and riding broncs,” Albert said.

The rodeo finalists have a message for those that want to participate in the sport:

“My message is take the chance of dreams you have. Rodeo is the best sport and it’s just you and your horse that make that count, no one else, and that is the best feeling in the world,” Hand said.

“For those that want to join the sport, I would say go for it — it's a lot of fun,” Browne said.

“It isn’t for the weakhearted, so just go out there and do it,” Albert said.

“My message to people who want to join the rodeo world is it’s a lot of hard work you have to put in if you want the results and to never give up on your dreams,” Thibodeaux said.

“My message would be to have fun with it,” Condel said.

“This is a sport on its own and you will meet a lot of good friends for life and it is like one big family,” Garza said.

“If you are thinking about wanting to start rodeoing, it’s never the wrong time. You can rodeo at any age and it has been some of the greatest experiences of my life,” Kardosz said.