2011 CNFR: Jordan Thurstan looks to win second goat tying title
“One of the most unique things about Jordan is that not only does she outwork everyone in the arena, she works extremely hard in the classroom too. She excels in both areas, and is the perfect student athlete in my opinion,” stated Gillette College Rodeo Coach Will LaDuke of sophomore rodeo team standout, and Lance Creek, WY native Jordan Thurstan.
Thurstan and teammate Chelsea Moore created an unbeatable force during both the 2010 regular season and the 2010 College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR). A freshman at the time, Thurstan won the national championship in goat tying, while Moore was the reserve champion overall female. Their combined success also played a major role in the Gillette College women’s team taking home the national champion trophy as a team.
“She is the 2011 Central Rocky Mountain Region Goat Tying Champion, and is looking to repeat as a national champion in the event. The women’s team is the defending national champion team, and Jordan and Chelsea Moore are pretty much who won it for us last year. To have both of them back at the CNFR this year means we have some high expectations,” added LaDuke of the 2011 finals.
“I started rodeoing really hard when I was 12. It really runs in my family – my mom and dad had both rodeod growing up, and I followed in their footsteps,” explained Thurstan of when she started in the sport.
“I compete in the breakaway, goat tying and barrel racing events. I had quite a few full-ride offers when I started college. I looked at Gillette and met Will, and he said he wouldn’t change how I tied goats, and I didn’t look anywhere else after that,” noted Thurstan of what lead to her decision to attend Gillette College.
Her multiple full-ride offers came after she dominated the high school rodeo world, taking home the Wyoming state championship in goat tying all four years of her career. LaDuke said she was prepared to make the transition from high school to college level competition when she joined the Gillette team last year.
“One big obstacle for junior colleges is finding kids right out of high school that are ready to win at the next level at 18 years old. Jordan is one of those kids, and you could tell she would be able to win at the college level right away – and she did. She was second in the region in goats and won the national championship as a freshman.
“Athletes like Jordan and Chelsea just don’t come along very often, and we’re very fortunate to have them both here at once. This year we have those two, who have been to the CNFR before, who know how to win, and have both won. Then we are adding another girl, Crystal Hershey, to the combination, and our goal is to repeat as national champions again,” said LaDuke.
“We won the region this year and our hope is to do what we did last year at the CNFR,” commented Thurstan. “Our whole women’s team practices really hard and does a great job pushing each other to be better.
“You’ve got to be able to push yourself too. No one is telling you to practice, and it’s all based on if you want to, and do, go to class. You do all of it based on how bad you want to, and you see a lot of kids that it doesn’t work for because they don’t want it enough,” added Thurstan, who practices almost every day.
Thurstan continued, noting that her future plans include competing at Gillette for her two remaining years of eligibility, then to run for the regional director, partially to obtain a fifth year of eligibility.
“She is only a sophomore, and we’ll definitely be building our program around Jordan for the next two years. We’ve recruited some good high school talents for next year, and there will be lots of new faces, and she will be our leader,” said LaDuke.
“I know I couldn’t have done any of this without my parents, and my brothers were always a big help running cattle out and holding the goat for me every day,” noted Thurstan. She added that her boyfriend Chancy Miller, three-time CNFR qualifier in saddle broncs, also holds goats and helps her practice.
“I’m very thankful to everyone for all their support. The CNFR is a really cool place to compete, and it’s nice to be a hometown girl,” concluded Thurstan.
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