64th annual College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) got underway here on June 10, with the Bulls, Broncs and Breakaway competition.
There are 438 entries here representing 126 member schools in 11 regions of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Each region has 10 rodeos where contestants hope to earn points to garner enough points to make the trip to Wyoming.
At stake are national titles, scholarships and trophy saddles and buckles proclaiming they are the best in their ranks. Sunday's events included bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding for the men.
Tag Elliott from Utah Valley University, had a standout performance in the bull riding with an 83.5 point ride aboard Frontier Rodeo's Swamp Dog. Elliott is no stranger to the Casper Events Center and the College National Finals Rodeo. This is his fourth qualification and he could make history for having been successful on the most bulls here in decades.
Riding for the College of Southern Idaho, Elliott qualified in 2007, 2009 and 2010. He finished in second, fourth and third respectively. The competition format of the CNFR includes three preliminary rounds with the top 12 in each event advancing to the finals. Elliott has made it to the finals each time he has ridden here and has been successful on 11 out of 13 bulls.
The Thatcher, UT, resident is hoping to keep his consistency going here and finally take home the bull riding championship. He is also ranked ninth in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association standings and is on pace to qualify for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, is set to defend their men's team title from 2011. Taylor Price finished atop the leader board in bareback riding and Sterling Crawley won the first round of saddle bronc riding, both representing the bearkats.
The first round in women's barrel racing and goat tying as well as team roping, tie-down roping, and steer wrestling were completed on June 13.
- National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association