In keeping with its decades-long tradition of excellence, the Tarleton State University Rodeo Team is sending 11 students athletes - seven men and four women – to the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming June 15-21.
“This year we have two great teams headed to the CNFR and we are expecting several National Titles from these students,” said Coach Mark Eakin.
Assistant Rodeo Coach, Tibba Smith explains, “The men were the Southwest Region year-end team champions with 4,380 points ahead of Weatherford College with 3,100 points. The Women were reserve team champions, behind Eastern New Mexico University.”
According to Smith, Senior Billy Bob Brown won the All-Around and tiedown roping, as well as reserve champion team roper. Brown will compete in the tiedown roping and team roping. Other qualifiers are:
• Junior Richmond Champion dominated the bareback riding event all year and will return to the CNFR determined to win a national title.
• Junior Travis Nelson was consistent all year and finished third place in the Saddle bronc riding.
• Junior Jace Melvin won the Tarleton Stampede to make him the reserve Steer wrestling champion.
• Senior Shay Carroll-a past CNFR champion Team Roper will rope with partner- Cole Wheeler from Weatherford College.
• Sophomore Russell Ilse will make his first of many CNFR trips and will compete in the tiedown roping.
• Junior Austin Tomaski qualified in the team roping and will be roping with a Weatherford College team member.
• Freshman Lindsey Trammell won the SW region Barrel racing event and has great momentum and determination headed to her first CNFR.
• Senior Jaime Barrow is familiar with the Casper arena and has had great success there the past several years. Barrow won third place in the SW region barrel racing.
• Senior Shaylee Williams will be headed to her first CNFR, but her horse Lark has a great track record in the Casper coliseum and will be a fun pair to watch.
• Freshman Baili Collins was the reserve champion Goat tier for the region and will be focused and ready to compete against the fastest girls in the nation.
As an additional incentive for these collegiate athletes, RFD-TV recently announced that the champions of the CNFR’s seven traditional events - bareback, saddle bronc, bull riding, team roping, tiedown roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing - will receive an exemption to the semifinals of The American.
According to RFD-TV The American is, “The world’s richest one-day rodeo will return to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX to payout $2 million to the day’s victors and award over half a million in prizes. Athletes will battle through qualifiers, Semifinals and World Finals for a chance to compete at the home of the Dallas Cowboys.”