Montana State women win College National Finals Rodeo team title
A talented group of Montana State University (MSU) cowgirls captured the coveted College National Finals Rodeo’s 2011 Women’s National Team Championship during the final performance on June 18 at the Casper Event Center in Wyoming.
It was the second women’s team title won by MSU women. The first was captured in 1986.
When the points were tallied, MSU women corralled 560 points to second place Sam Houston State University’s 430 points.
“I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Head Coach Mike True said this week. “There were a dozen teams there that were good enough to win.”
True said the 2011 MSU team was the deepest and most talented team that he had ever coached.
Led by MSU senior Kate Sharon of Dillon, who won the national goat tying championship as well, the experienced women’s team from the Bozeman campus outscored the best contestants from 137 universities that are represented in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA). In addition to the national title, Sharon also was the second go-round goat tying champion.
Her 21-year-old mare, according to coach True, “never gets in the way and never does anything wrong.”
Robbi Nace, a junior from Roundup, made a major contribution to the team’s victory by ending up as the reserve barrel racing champion. Earlier in the week, she won the second go-round barrel racing performance on her tried and true 15-year-old mare.
The little mare underwent colic surgery in January and Nace rode an alternative horse during spring rodeos. She ran one run with her old mount at the Horse Place before the CNFR.
“That little horse weighs just around 860 pounds and most of that is heart,” MSU Coach Mike True said. Nace, who has been to the Finals three times along with Sharon, handled the pressure of huge crowds and excitement at the event center quite well according to the team’s coach, despite asking True to be with her in the alley before her second place run.
True said the “dirt” was better for the barrel racing than he had seen and the good ground was a huge factor for Nace’s success.
Hannah Sharon, a junior from Dillon; Dani Dowton a freshman from Ellis, ID; and Lexzi Rianda, a senior from Kalispell, were the other teammates that helped to accumulate the 560 team winning points.
Hannah Sharon placed 7th in the final barrel racing statistics. Rianda was 8th in the goat tying. Dowton was 37th in breakaway roping.
“It’s huge to have a group with that kind of experience,” True added.
Kate Sharon was the only graduating member of the women’s team; the rest of the ladies will be back to continue the legacy next year.
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