Curtis Welsh is no stranger to mixing golf with rodeo.
After shooting a pair of 75s to place 10th at the 2014 state Class B golf tournament, Welsh is now ready for his fourth trip to the Nebraska State High School Finals Rodeo that starts today in Hastings.
Welsh placed in the top 10 of team roping at the state finals over the last two years.
Born in Valentine and spending his early years in Ainsworth, Welsh was well-versed on the cowboy culture of the Nebraska Sandhills from an early age.
He moved to Scottsbluff in second grade.
In team roping, Welsh, 19, is a heeler for his partner Gunner Walker, who is his header. As a team, the two have competed together for two seasons.
“I went to the state finals all four years,” Welsh said. “There are a couple of really good teams (in the state) this year. My partner and I kind of had a rough string but we still have a chance. We have to rope like we should, and we will be all right. There are a lot of points and a lot of opportunity available at state.”
Welsh and Walker will perform in the first round tonight.
Welsh said he took up golfing when his family rented a house next to the Scottsbluff Golf Course while their new house was under construction.
“I picked up golfing then and really started liking it,” he said.
Welsh was a member of the Scottsbluff golf team all four years of high school, which captured the Class B state title in 2013, finished second in 2011, third in 2014 and fifth in 2012.
Welsh, who graduated in May, is the only Scottsbluff golfer who is also into rodeo.
“I have a couple friends who golf and rodeo, too, but they’re from small schools,” he said.
Welsh plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this fall and major in agri-business. He is not yet sure of his career goals.
“I don’t know that yet but I want it to be strongly tied to agriculture,” he said, adding his grandparents and uncles are ranchers. “I kind of grew up in that, and I want to stay involved in it.”
Welsh wasn’t sure if he will be trying out for Nebraska’s college rodeo team.
“I’m going to get down there and see what it is like,” he said. “I can always rope when I’m older. It’s kind of one of those things that you can do for the rest of your life. I’m in no hurry.”
Welsh said he is excited to make his fourth trip to the state high school finals in Hastings.
“I like Hastings — it’s a cool town. It is supposed to rain all week, though,” he said.