VALLEY CITY, N.D. — Rodeo is back in the saddle.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many school-related events, the North Dakota High School Rodeo Association held the last of three two-day rodeos the weekend of Sept. 19-20 at the North Dakota Winter Show facilities in Valley City.

Tesa Klein of LaMoure, N.D., is manager of the winter show. She said some events were held outside and some in the big Quonset arena, with about 300 trailers in the parking lots.

“If you can’t social-distance in this building, I don’t think you can do it anywhere,” Klein quipped.

Klein’s family is in the auction, horse and rodeo business, and manages the Central Livestock Sale Barn in West Fargo. The facility hosts an average of two major events every month — horse shows, barrel races, rodeos.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Trista Hovde of Sidney, Mont., is president of the youth advisory board for the association, which is not connected to public schools or activities. She is the daughter of J.J. and Tana Hovde. J.J. is a veterinarian and her parents are part of long-standing cattle-raising families along the border. Hovde said the spring season for the rodeo had been canceled, so she was pleased things had gotten more back to normal for the fall season, which ended with the Valley City event.

The high school association members win points for an event and points add up for cumulative points, which qualify for the national finals rodeo. The spring season runs from April until the state rodeo in June. The top 24 for each event go on to a state championship. The top four in each event at state go to nationals.