By AJ MAZZOLINI
CASPER, Wyo. — Following a season in which the Blue Mountain Community College women’s rodeo team took first and the men placed second in the Northwest Region Championship, the Timberwolves will have nine team members in Casper, Wyo., for the College National Finals Rodeo this weekend.
Four women and five men qualified by ranking in the top six in their event for the season. The rodeo begins on Sunday and runs through the following Saturday, June 16, at the Casper Events Center.
She took second and fifth place respectively in those events during the season in the Northwest.
Scott is a first-timer at the nationals but Jade Crossley, Kayla Tiegs and Mary Shae Hays are all returners from a group of eight Blue Mountain riders and ropers that made the trip to Casper last summer.
None of the girls performed very well in the finals, coach Larry Patterson said, but having that experience should give them a bump this year.
“We’re expecting good things from all the ones that are returners from last year,” he said. “I’m hoping that in the barrel race especially, we should definitely do some good in there.”
Patterson is referring to Crossley and Hays, the top two placers in barrel racing in the Northwest Region. A pair of cousins, Patterson said the women have grown more consistent in their times this spring, which bodes well for a decent finish to the season at the CNFR.
Consistency is something the coaches have preached all year. Avoiding letdowns, even as small as one run among a dozen, will help the team continue its upward trajectory.
Of course staying consistent can be tough in a sport like rodeo, Patterson said.
“There’s so many variables in rodeo. Between drawing good (stock) and performing good, you’ve also got to have a little luck in there,” he said.
On the men’s side, Dakota Eldridge returns to the finals where he took fourth in 2011 in the all-around. The cowboy will compete in both steer wrestling and tie-down roping after finishing third and fourth respectively in the region during the season. His success over multiple events landed him in third place in the all-around rankings.
Other returners from last year include Justin Parke and Austin Foss. Parke was the tie-down roping champion this spring while Foss was a bareback riding champion.
Blue Mountain’s fresh faces — as far as National College Finals Rodeo competition is concerned — are Beau Lewis and Bryan Carter. Lewis qualified for the Casper rodeo with a championship resume in steer wrestling this year and Carter will ride the bulls because of his third-place ranking.
Also competing in Wyoming, the Eastern Oregon University rodeo team will have two representatives. Seth Shelton placed third in the bareback category this year — a hefty distance back of BMCC’s regional champ Foss — and Justin Jarvis was also third in tie-down roping. Jarvis’ work in steer wrestling, an event that he will not see action in during the college finals, got him into fifth in the season rankings for men’s all-around.
The two Oregon cowboys helped Eastern Oregon to a fourth-place finish in the Northwest.
Contact AJ Mazzolini at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0839.