Sweet Redemption: James Arviso and Cashton Weidenbener Win 2022 National High School Finals Rodeo

After a disappointing 2021 NHSFR and nearly missing Gillette, Arviso and Weidenbener mastered their mental game to win the 2022 NHSRA World Championship.

Acentric Rodeo Photography

James Arviso and Cashton Weidenbener may have just graduated high school, but they backed in the box like steely veterans each round in Gillette, Wyoming, and snagged three steers in 19.24 seconds to earn the 2022 NHSFR Team Roping World Championship. 

One year ago, the outcome in Lincoln, Nebraska, was very different for the duo. They came hot off a 2021 Arizona State Championship, and upon arriving in Lincoln for the NHSFR, turned their first steer fast. In the second round, the duo cracked under the pressure, and Weidenbener rushed a shot that wasn’t there on the heel side. They came up empty, and returned to Arizona. 

Since then, Arviso won a cool $55K in Vegas, helped his Uncle Derrick Begay out with a mount for the Thomas & Mack and won reserve championship at the BFI this spring. Arviso and Weidenbener roped against the best at the Mike Cervi Pro Classic this spring, and in tough conditions they won the incentive against all the best teams in the world.


Get to know the champs.

James Arviso

Arviso, already an 8 header, (18) hails from Winslow, Arizona. He comes from an impressive line of ropers, including Uncle Derrick, as well as Uncle Aaron Tsinigine. His grandfather, Victor Begay, has championed roping on the Navajo reservation for generations.

Cashton Weidenbener

Weidenbener, (18) a 9 heeler, of Payson, Arizona, grew up with a rope in his hand. Weidenbener doesn’t just excel in the team roping. He is a three-time Arizona State Champion in the cutting, and he competed in that event, along with reined cow horse in Gillette.


They kept their momentum going everywhere except the 2022 high school rodeos. 

“We had a terrible year, until the last three rodeos” Arviso said. “It was me. Everything felt right until I let my rope go, then it just didn’t go on the horns like it was supposed to.”

Arviso worked the kinks out of his roping and pulled through. He turned enough steers for Weidenbener to heel quickly, and they nosed into a qualification for Gillette. 

When the first round kicked off, it followed the same early track as 2021. They wheeled one in 5.94 seconds to finish second in the first go-round behind Saskatchewan, Canada’s Kavis Drake and Colter Dunn’s 5.85-second run. 

As they backed in the box, memories from 2021 haunted them both.

“Oh yeah, I had nerves,” Arviso said. 

“I did not want to miss the second steer again,” Weidenbener recalled. “I wanted to be smarter this year and just make sure I got behind them. My goal was just get to the inside and heel them, just try and get a decent haze and take my shot.”

The athletes watched footage of their steer in the first round, created a plan and executed it well.

“The second steer was stronger,” Arviso explained. “I tried to just use my head.”

“We just took him farther down the arena,” Weidenbener added. “I knew we weren’t going to place in the round, so I also tried to use my head.”

The result was a 7.5-second trip. It landed them in the No. 15 spot in the round, but more importantly, it seated them firmly atop the aggregate—a spot that they locked down for the remainder of the competition.


The Horse Power

DCR Sunny Reed

Arviso’s 8-year-old bay mare is “Rihanna,” a horse he bought in 2020 from Erich Rogers.

“We’ve been roping together for a long time and our chemistry is pretty good. We know each other,” Arviso said.

Rihanna was raised by Wyoming’s Durbin Creek Ranch Horses.

Ripped it Again

“Beau JR,” is Weidenbener’s 13-year-old gelding. The red horse appeared to be in perfect harmony with Weidenbener, despite being a new purchase.

“I just bought him from my aunt. He’s one of the best horses I’ve ever rode. He just makes it easy,” Weidenbener explained.


Coming high callback to the short go didn’t mean the cowboys were safe. They watched five teams turn in sub-six second runs out of the 19 before them. The No. 2 callback team was fellow Arizonans Kenzie and Ketch Kelton, who won their state championship and kept Arviso and Weidenbener at bay all season. They served up a 5.95-second run moments before Arviso and Weidenbener backed in the box. The crowd went wild, and all eyes were on the other Arizona team. 

They had to be under 6.8 seconds in order to get the championship, so when they sailed through a 5.8-second finish, the grandstands shook with excitement. 

In the end, 365 days of hard work boiled down to a seemingly effortless win for Arviso and Weidenbener. Both come from well-known roping families, but they are working to blaze their own trail in the sport of rodeo. 

Moving forward, the boys will be splitting up while they pursue their respective degrees in college rodeo. Arviso is going to Ranger Community College in Stephenville, Texas, to pursue a career in welding, and Weidenbener will be studying business at Weatherford College. Looking back on their 2022 NHSFR and high school careers as a whole, there only seems to be one regret that the young men share. 

“I wish we could have driven the Polaris Ranger (that was used for victory laps in the arena) around,” Arviso said with a grin. “I would have dang sure put some donuts in the arena.” 

Aggregate Results

1. (AZ) James Arviso, Winslow, Ariz., Cashton Weidenbener, Payson, Ariz., 19.24

2. (AZ) Kenzie Kelton, Mayer, Ariz., Ketch Kelton, Mayer, Ariz., 20.21

3. (SK) Kavis Drake, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Can., Colter Dunn, Ogema, Saskatchewan, Can., 20.77

4. (AB) Clay McNichol, Okotoks, Alberta, Can., Denim Ross, Botha, Alberta, Can., 22.08

5. (GA) Teigan Orr, Lebanon, Tenn., Trevor Miller, McDonough, Ga., 24.4

6. (WY) Jade Espenscheid, Big Piney, Wyo., Cord Herring, Veteran, Wyo., 24.57

7. (NM) Chilly Hernandez, Animas, N.M., Juan Montoya, Monticello, N.M., 25.04

8. (UT) Garrett Riding, St. George, Utah, Chad Reber, Newcastle, Utah, 26.94

9. (MS) Trent Davis, Lumberton, Miss., Cody Smith, Monticello, Miss., 27.71

10. (SD) Tate Johnson, Sisseston, S.D., Tyan Johnson, Sisseton, S.D., 30.45

Top NHSFR Team ropers in the aggregate. (Arviso, Weidenbener: Middle, black shirts.)

Short Go Results

1. (AB) Clay McNichol, Okotoks, Alberta, Can., Denim Ross, Botha, Alberta, Can., 5.1

2. (SK) Kavis Drake, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Can., Colter Dunn, Ogema, Saskatchewan, Can., 5.48

3. (GA) Teigan Orr, Lebanon, Tenn., Trevor Miller, McDonough, Ga., 5.65

4. (AZ) James Arviso, Winslow, Ariz., Cashton Weidenbener, Payson, Ariz., 5.8

5. (AZ) Kenzie Kelton, Mayer, Ariz., Ketch Kelton, Mayer, Ariz., 5.95

6. (WY) Jade Espenscheid, Big Piney, Wyo., Cord Herring, Veteran, Wyo., 5.96

7. (NM) Chilly Hernandez, Animas, N.M., Juan Montoya, Monticello, N.M., 6.24

8. (SD) Tate Johnson, Sisseston, S.D., Tyan Johnson, Sisseton, S.D., 11.51

9. (UT) Garrett Riding, St. George, Utah, Chad Reber, Newcastle, Utah, 12.4

10. (MS) Trent Davis, Lumberton, Miss., Cody Smith, Monticello, Miss., 12.79

11. (OK) Mason Appleton, Chelsea, Okla., Landen Glenn, McAlester, Okla., 15.02

12. (GA) Sarah Toole, Rydal, Ga., Luke Denney, Carrollton, Ga., 16.03

13. (MS) Brady Smith, Hazlehurst, Miss., Brody Smith, Hazlehurst, Miss., 20.86

14. (CO) Rowdy Weil, Kersey, Colo., Roan Weil, Kersey, Colo., 23.2

15. (MS) Brady Garner, Brookhaven, Miss., Kannon Nunnery, Liberty, Miss., 29.24

16. (AR) Sanders McElroy, Mountain View, Ark., Scout McElroy, Mountain View, Ark., 35.19

Second Go-Round Winners

1. (OK) Mason Appleton, Chelsea, Okla., Landen Glenn, McAlester, Okla., 5.19

2. (CO) Brayden Fillmore, Penrose, Colo., Bodie Hine, Ignacio, Colo., 5.41

3. (KS) Mason Stueve, Newton, Kan., Trey Adams, Junction City, Kan., 5.99

4. (MO) Colbi Freeman, Carthage, Mo., Gus Albertson, Eldon, Mo., 6.04

5. (AR) Westin Barnett, Hope, Ark., Lane Allen, Bismarck, Ark., 6.07

6. (ID) Birch Eiguren, Jordan Valley, Ore., Devon McDaniel, Caldwell, Idaho, 6.45

7. (GA) Sarah Toole, Rydal, Ga., Luke Denney, Carrollton, Ga., 6.75

8. (AB) Houston Long, Walsh, Alberta, Can., Rylan Brost, Consul, Saskatchewan, Can., 6.79

9. (OK) Raesh Casebolt, Ryan, Okla., Chase McGuire, McAlester, Okla., 6.86

10. (NV) Joseyray Funk, Wellington, Nev., Garrett Jepson, Las Vegas, Nev., 6.96

11. (WY) Haiden Thompson, Yoder, Wyo., Jace Mayfield, Midwest, Wyo., 6.98

12. (WI) Brady Uppena, LaValle, Wis., Bryce Bunting, Amherst, Wis., 7

13. (WY) Cam Johnson, Buffalo, Wyo., Cael Espenscheid, Big Piney, Wyo., 7.16

14. (SK) Trey Nowosad, Clandonald, Alberta, Can., Brody Groves, Czar, Alberta, Can., 7.32

15. (AZ) James Arviso, Winslow, Ariz., Cashton Weidenbener, Payson, Ariz., 7.5

16. (ID) William Warner, Rigby, Idaho, Jaydon Warner, Rigby, Idaho, 7.52

17. (UT) Garrett Riding, St. George, Utah, Chad Reber, Newcastle, Utah, 7.62

18. (OR) Tommy Rose, Burns, Ore., Cody Siegner, Crane, Ore., 7.7

19. (CO) Rowdy Weil, Kersey, Colo., Roan Weil, Kersey, Colo., 7.75

20. (AZ) Kenzie Kelton, Mayer, Ariz., Ketch Kelton, Mayer, Ariz., 7.8

First Go-Round Winners

1. (SK) Kavis Drake, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Can., Colter Dunn, Ogema, Saskatchewan, Can., 5.85

2. (AZ) James Arviso, Winslow, Ariz., Cashton Weidenbener, Payson, Ariz., 5.94

3. (WY) Jade Espenscheid, Big Piney, Wyo., Cord Herring, Veteran, Wyo., 6.05

4. (SD) Tegan Fite, Hermosa, S.D., Treg Thorstenson, Lantry, S.D., 6.13

5. (AZ) Kenzie Kelton, Mayer, Ariz., Ketch Kelton, Mayer, Ariz., 6.46

6. (AR) Sanders McElroy, Mountain View, Ark., Scout McElroy, Mountain View, Ark., 6.6

7. (NV) Tayler Felton, Fallon, Nev., Brock Borkman, Grantsville, Utah, 6.63

8. (CA) Zane George, La Grange, Calif., Wyatt Hammerstrom, Tracy, Calif., 6.76

9. (MS) Trent Davis, Lumberton, Miss., Cody Smith, Monticello, Miss., 6.81

10. (UT) Garrett Riding, St. George, Utah, Chad Reber, Newcastle, Utah, 6.92

11. (MO) Brody Tunks, King City, Mo., Kale Boultinghouse, El Dorado Springs, Mo., 6.98

12. (CO) Rowdy Weil, Kersey, Colo., Roan Weil, Kersey, Colo., 7.23

13. (OR) Bayli Ladner, Klamath Falls, Ore., Hanley Miller, Enterprise, Ore., 7.24

14. (SK) Bubba Skene, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Can., Trinity Bear, Whitewood, Saskatchewan, Can., 7.52

15. (NM) Chilly Hernandez, Animas, N.M., Juan Montoya, Monticello, N.M., 7.54

16. (NM) Lyvan Gonzalez, Hobbs, N.M., Cason Hatley, Hobbs, N.M., 7.62

17. (SD) Tate Johnson, Sisseston, S.D., Tyan Johnson, Sisseton, S.D., 7.63

18. (TN) Dylan Delmas, Athens, Ala., Blair Mabry, Columbia, Tenn., 7.73

19. (OR) Marcus Marriott, Canby, Ore., Justin Reno, Springfield, Ore., 7.88

20. (MS) Brady Garner, Brookhaven, Miss., Kannon Nunnery, Liberty, Miss., 7.99

Full NHSFR results can be found here.

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