It was a great year out of the chutes for Tyler Bondaroff.
Though this year’s DCSS graduation was much different than normal, for Bondaroff, the entire graduation experience will be one she won’t forget. When the DCSS bursaries and scholarships were presented on June 16, Bondaroff was the recipient of four of them, and $4,250 in total.
Bondaroff won $1,500 from the Knights of Columbus Community Scholarship, $1,250 from the School District 56 District/ Authority Scholarship, $1,000 from the Hudson School Farm Award and $500 from the Dawson Creek Community Volleyball Club Scholarships.
These awards come on the heels of her being named the 2020 DCSS Female Athlete of the Year for her achievements in volleyball and rodeo.
“I was pretty excited about it, I’ve always worked really hard towards all my sports, putting in the practice time, and I’m glad to be recognized for it,” Bondaroff said.
“Winning the athlete of the year award means just as much as winning the academic ones.”
She didn’t win the four bursaries by chance, but similarly to all the time she put into her athletics, Bondaroff applied to 26 awards overall, with many of them needing a special application and extra time. Bondaroff has been playing in volleyball and competing in rodeo her entire life. She loves the contrast the two sports provide.
“It was really cool to be a part of both. Volleyball is such a team sport where you’re learning about sportsmanship, what it takes to be a team and have everyone come together, and rodeo is an individual sport, it’s all in your heard. There’s nobody else to rely on but yourself ,” said Bondaroff. At provincials this year, the DCSS volleyball team finished third, and Bondaroff was nominated for the tournament’s Top Libero award, a specialized defensive position.
“We were a third place team so to be included in that was a huge honour and something I was very proud of.”
Bondaroff didn’t win any BC High School Rodeo championships this year, but did have a solid season. She finished third in goat tying, second in team roping for heelers, and fourth in breakaway roping. She added to her collection of awards and bursaries at the BC High School Graduation on June 27, receiving $1,000 from the National High School Rodeo Association, $300 from the President's Scholarship, $250 from the High School Rodeo Association of BC, as well as $500 from the North Region. She was also named to the Honour Roll and the Director's Elite Team.
One of her most memorable experiences in rodeo is when she represented BC in the rodeo queen competition at the 2019 National High School Rodeo Finals in Rock Spring, Wyoming.
“It was such a cool experience, you’re competing against 46 other girls, it improved my public speaking, and I finished 14th in my horsemanship out of all 46.,” Bondaroff said.
Bondaroff will spend the 2020-21 school year at Northern Lights College taking the General Engineering course, and she plans to be a part of the NLC Rodeo Team. She was a part of the team near the end of last season as well. However, it’s not known exactly what the college rodeo season will look like this year yet due to COVID-19.
She didn’t get to compete in the volleyball club season this year, n or the second half of the high school rodeo season, as both were cancelled due to the pandemic.
“It was kind of upsetting to me, we worked so hard as a team, and for rodeo I was really improving and to not have a chance to see how that turned out was disappointing. But it’s OK, I can still play in the ladies league here and the college rodeos.”
Though the future of college athletics and sports in general is very much up in the air, one thing’s for sure — the hard work that’s carried Bondaroff this far will bring her success for years to come.