The first round of action at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming concluded on Monday. Over four hundred contestants are vying for national championships during this week’s event at the Casper Events Center. All competitors will compete in three rounds with the top 12 in each event advancing to the Championship Round on Saturday night, June 18. The Championship Round will air on ESPNU.
Rough Stock Winners
Jacobs Crawley of Texas A & M University claimed the opening round in the saddle bronc riding. Crawley earned 82 points en route to the win. The Southern Region Champion Saddle Bronc Rider in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) is also ranked amongst the top 15 in the world standings of the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) thus far in 2011.
Another PRCA standout, JR Verzain of Vernon College won the first round in the bareback riding. Verzain is 15th in the PRCA standings and won the round with his score of 80.5 points.
In the bull riding, only five cowboys made the eight second whistle aboard the outstanding livestock in Casper. Sam Houston State University student Cody Teel scored 84 points for the round win.
Timed Event Winners
2010 CNFR All Around Champion Cowboy Caleb Smidt wasted no time finding his way back to the winner’s circle in 2011. The Sam Houston State University cowboy roped his tie down calf in 8.5 seconds to win the first go of that event. Defending national champion tie down roper Ryan Bothum tied his calf in 11.5 seconds and finished 19th in the round.
Northwestern Oklahoma State University cowboy Kyle Irwin was the fastest steer wrestler in the first go round. Irwin posted a 3.5 second run for the victory.
The Torres brothers of McNeese State University claimed the win in the first go of the team roping. Josh and Jonathan roped their steer in 5.2 seconds for the win.
Kendra Stineman beat a rapid field of breakaway ropers for the opening round win. Stineman, who rodeos for New Mexico State University, roped her calf in 2.4 seconds.
Elizabeth Combs of Sam Houston State University topped the barrel racing in the first round. Combs ran her cloverleaf pattern aboard her horse Skeeter in 14.35 seconds.
Milli Hughes was the only contestant in the goat tying to break six seconds on her run. Her 5.7 second run not only won the opening round but set a new arena record as well according to trib.com. Hughes rodeos for Southern Utah University and won the opening round a year ago as well. Defending national champion Jordan Thurston was fifth.
Dakota Eldridge of Blue Mountain College leads Winn Ratliff of McNeese State University for the Men’s All Around title in the early going of the CNFR. Eldrige’s lead is just 10 points.
McNeese State University of Lake Charles, Louisiana leads the Men’s Team chase with 350 points. Just about 100 points behind are the cowboys from Sam Houston State University located in Huntsville, Texas.
Sam Houston State’s Lady Bearkats are leading the way for the Women’s Team title so far with 160 points. Weatherford College of Weatherford, Texas is sitting close behind with 145 points.
The second round of action is already underway as the CNFR rolls toward Championship Saturday.