Dickinson State man wins college bulldogging
COLLEGE RODEO’S “ROSE BOWL”
The roar of frenzied fans was deafening and nearly every seat in the Casper Events Center was full as an enthusiastic group of youngsters signed our National Anthem to open the final performance of the 67th National College Finals Rodeo (NCFR) Saturday night, June 20, 2015.
The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Alumni luncheon and auctions earlier in the day had raised more than $18,000 for scholarships – 91-year-young Hall of Fame Rodeo Producer Harry Vold had taken his performance-opening “Duke of the Chutes” bow – and licking tongues of fire had burnt a line across the arena center as 20 of America’s finest college rodeo athletes were introduced by pro announcer Boyd Polhamus. They were the toe-to-toe contenders ranked first and second in each of nine events, after three rounds of furious competition.
As those spurred and booted gladiators left the arena Bareback Riding action reared onto the turf – featuring prorodeo broncs like Pillow Talk on which a 91 was marked at Prescott; and Painted Coast who’d carried the champion at Colorado Springs. No man on the Saturday night catwalk behind the nervous horses was higher on adrenaline than Missouri Valley College team member Timothy O’Connell. His CNFR had been charmed – starting with back to back identical 82-point go-around wins. That kind of consistency would have guaranteed him a National title, but Tim cranked it up yet another notch Friday night as he spurred Frontier Rodeo’s Cash Deal to a wild, event-topping 84.5!
Tim slid his gloved hand into the riggin’ cinched down on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Night knocked out an 82.5 marking. That locked up the national championship and the saddle sponsored by Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply.
Neil Williams, III riding for Casper College had a 77.5 for second in Round 1.
Wyatt Bloom from Montana State University took second in round 3 with a 77.5 and third in the short round with 82 points.
While CNFR’s opening round had not witnessed any single-digit times in tie-down roping, round 2 produced eight of them.
Speedy loops continued to captivate the full house as lady breakaway ropers turned in stellar performances. Round 1 had been split by Tess Turk from University of Montana Western and McKenzie Cooper from McNeese State University, with times of 2.1 seconds. Three ladies split round 3 honors with speedy flags stopping the watches at 2.0. The trio included Lacey Camp of Casper College, Riley Streeter of Walla Walla Community College, and Lauren Bane representing Tarleton State University.
Fast time of the short round was claimed by Randi Buchanan, a sophomore from Reno, Nevada, going to school at Panhandle State University; but her earlier three round aggregate of 13.2 made her Runner-up to Fowler, Colorado, cowgirl Tamara Tunink who claimed the Komatsu Equipment-sponsored trophy saddle and the National title by adding her 2.8 performance to her three-round total for 11.9 on four head of speedy calves. Iowa cowgirl Breanna Ellis rodeoing for Missouri Valley College picked up third overall. A heartbreaker story can be told of South Dakota State University Senior Haley Brown when she failed to catch her 4th round calf. The Science/Technology major had accumulated consistent 4.7, 4.1 and 4.5 times, only to miss that all-important last calf.
CNFR 2015 bucking stock was rank, a truth strongly expressed by the eight bronc riders who failed to cover any of their first three draws and fourteen more who only tootered-up on one – plus an unbelievable nine gooseggs in the twelve-head short round! Tarleton State’s Jace Lane – veteran of two NFR’s – knocked 71.5 hard-earned points off Vold’s Matterhorn to tie for second in the final round, accumulating 271 points on four to become Runner-Up. The only other bronc rider to qualify out of twelve in the short round was Cole Hatfield, who cowboy’s on the famed 6666’s ranch in Texas and rodeos for Hill College. He made the short round in spite of a no-score in round 1, and tied Lane’s 71.5 on Vold’s Painted Bear for second . His earlier buck-off dropped him to 6th overall for the rodeo. Rusty Wright of Utah’s famous bronc-riding clan, a Freshman at College of Southern Idaho, was unceremoniously dumped by Frontier Rodeo’s Short Cut on Saturday night, but having won rounds 1 and 2 and placed second in round 3 he held onto third for the event with 223 on three head, earning 310 team points. Montana State University bronc rider Kendall Green carried off fourth overall with 210 on three head and 170 team points.
In the big man’s event of bulldogging, round 2 winner Nic Nyman of Western Wyoming Community College stopped his first watch at 4.7. Round 3 leader Kane Cartwright, rodeoing for University of Montana, Western, flattened his steer in 4.1 for the second fastest time of the rodeo; which felt real good following two “no time’s.” Dickinson State’s Morman Cameron garnered two fourth place wins in preliminary rounds but turned in a smooth 4.7 to win the short round. Teamed with his earlier 5.3, 9.9, and 6.2 the run gave him 25.1 on four head, the trophy saddle sponsored by Medicine Bow Technologies, and 240 team points – helping his men’s team tie for 9th in the nation. Newt Novich, for University of Montana, Western, wound up the fourth ranked bulldogger because of turning in 5.4, 6.9, 13.1 and 8.7 in the respective rounds, totaling 34.1 and earning his school 95 team points.
Goat tying times sizzled all week in Casper. Loni Pearce, Southern Arkansas University wrapped her CNFR up by placing fourth in the short round with a 6.8. Her four “under 7” runs gave her a total of 26.2, 275 team points, the National Championship title and the Saddle sponsored by Graco Oilfield Services.
Dickinson State University’s Bobbi Grann place third in the short go and her consistent 6.7, 6.8, 6.5, and 6.7 runs gave her a 26.7 total for third in the rodeo. Riding for Idaho State University, Shelby Freed clocked a 6.6 and 6.7 before going to the pay window with 6.3 which tied her for the round 3 win. She carried that momentum into the short go to beat ‘em all with a shiny 6.4. Her total of 27.0 on four placed her fourth overall and gave her 180 team points.
Round 1 Team Roping winners were Kolton Schmidt (Southeast Oklahoma University) and Sawyer Barham (Coffeyville Community College) clocking a smooth 5.1. By adding a 6.7 and back-to-back 6.2’s the speedy duo maintained that momentum all the way to the awards ceremony, where they picked up the Championship title and two trophy saddles sponsored by ITC Electrical Technologies.
Clay Crozier (Southern Utah University) and Brody Adams (Colorado Northwestern Community College) had a total time of 46.4 seconds to place fourth in the average.
In barrel racing Callahan Crossley, a Business major from Hermiston, Oregon, compiled a total time of 56 on four to carry home the 2015 championship and the saddle sponsored by Mountain View Regional Hospital.
If anyone kept book on “Bulls vs Cowboys” at Casper, they’ll tell you the bulls had a runaway! Round 1 had the most qualified rides with five, yes, five out of thirty-five contestants. Trasen Jones from College of Southern Idaho scored 77.5 to win the round; fourth place went to Ryan Knutson of South Dakota State University with a 71. In Round 2 Casper College cowboy Antone Drew earned 71.5 points for fourth.
The short go was a wipeout, 12-0 in favor of the bulls.
Tarleton State University ran away with the Men’s Team Championship at 915 points; Reserve was Panhandle State University with 835 points. The ladies of Blue Mountain Community College were Women’s Team Champions by a good margin, scoring 517.50 over Runne-Up McNeese State University with 420 points.
Midland, Texas cowboy Landon Williams, a senior from Tarleton State College, walked away with All Around Cowboy accolades for his performances in Tie Down Roping and Team Roping. His 445 points gave him a comfortable lead over Runner-Up Jared Parke, who steer wrestles and ropes calves for Blue Mountain Community College. The 2015 Women’s All Around Champion is Kirsten Smith, riding for McNeese State University in Goat Tying and Breakaway Roping for a total of 285 points. Runner-Up Hayden Todd of Eastern New Mexico University racked up 265 points in Goat Tying and Barrel Racing.