Iowa’s high school soccer tournaments are kicked off and softball and baseball championships are coming up. But there’s another high school athletic competition going on in our state, one that needs no ball and harkens back to Iowa’s rural roots—rodeo.

Iowa high school athletes have been competing lately in bronc riding, team roping, pole bending, steer wrestling, goat tying, cutting and more.

Iowa’s finest high school rodeo athletes meet at the state finals on June 7, 8, and 9 in Waterloo at the National Cattle Congress Grounds. Here are some images from the qualifying rounds held the first weekend in June in Carson, near Council Bluffs.

These young athletes are professional and impressive to watch. Be sure to tip your Stetson to the volunteers and professionals who provide the livestock, judging and announcing (and those folks making the walking tacos).

Even though there’s not a ball included in this competition, you can have a ball watching and supporting these Iowa high school athletes. Giddy yup.

By Gary Fandel. Gary is photographer and writer for Iowa Farm Bureau.