Mid-Plains Community College will send seven members of its rodeo team to the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. June 9-15. The CNFR qualifiers are: Men’s team: Austin Madison, Whiting, Iowa, Clay Bauer, Arcadia, JD Draper, Oakley, Kan, Koby Jacobson, Haiku, Hawaii,Marshall Still, Oconto,Wyatt Williams, Ord andChance Williams, Ord (will serve as an alternate)
Women’s team: Danielle Wray, Ord
The team ended its season in Dickinson, N.D. over the weekend. It took first place overall in the men’s team standings and claimed two individual wins by Jacobson, bull riding, and Madison, steer wrestling. Additionally, Madison and Draper tied for first in the steer wrestling in the regional standings. “That’s pretty awesome to have two regional saddles come back to the college for one event,” said Garrett Nokes, MPCC Rodeo Team timed event coach. “JD stumbled a bit this weekend, but had a phenomenal fall and not a bad spring. That was enough to put him over the edge. Austin had a pretty rough fall, but all spring had gotten considerably better. He ropes well and steer wrestles well, but breaking barriers cost him. These last couple of weeks, he’s really turned it up a notch and did great.”
Danielle Wray, of Ord, came in fifth in the breakaway roping at Dickinson – helping the MPCC women’s team to finish fifth as well. Wray is currently the number one header in the Great Plains Region heading into nationals and will be the only woman representing Mid-Plains at the CNFR. “Danielle is just a freshman, but she’s doing a great job,” said Nokes. “She stumbled a couple of times this spring, and it could have cost her the regional championship, so it’s great to see her go to nationals. She and her partner rope well enough that they could be contenders for the national title.” Marshall Still, of Oconto, placed second in the steer wrestling at Dickinson. Nokes has been impressed with the progress Still has made this year. “Marshall had a really tough fall and worked on a lot of things over the winter,” Nokes said. “No one has worked any harder than he has. To have three steer wrestlers from the same school make it to nationals – a person has to be proud of that, and I’m real proud of all of them. Any of them could be in contention for a national championship. They are good enough to do that. It wouldn’t surprise me if all three are top 10 finishers.” Bauer and Draper joined forces to place second in the team roping at Dickinson. In addition to place third in the tie-down roping at Dickinson, Bauer is also sitting third in tie-down roping for the region. “Clay had some horsepower problems early on,” said Nokes. “But, he borrowed a horse this spring and started roping smarter than he ever has. That new horse was the key factor in him getting the qualification for nationals.” Jacobson’s bull riding win at Dickinson left him third in the region. Dustin Elliott, MPCC Rodeo Team rough stock coach, said the circumstances surrounding the competition in North Dakota made the win even more special.
“Koby was tied for third coming into the weekend,” Elliott said. “The kid that he tied with and the other that could have caught him both bucked off before him. So, all Koby had to do was ride his bull, and he had the college finals made. As a competitor, sometimes that’s the hardest situation to be in because of the pressure. I couldn’t be more proud of him based on what was on the line.” Overall, MPCC will head to the CNFR second in the region in the men’s team standings and third in the women’s team standings. “Six of the seven qualifiers will be coming back next year,” Nokes said. “Winning second as a team – we’ve got nowhere to go but up.” It’s the third year in a row that MPCC has qualified for nationals and the second year in a row that it has finished second in the region with its men’s team. “I thought we competed well all year on both ends of the arena,” Elliott said. “We didn’t quite pull it all together until Dickinson, but there we had a 790-point rodeo as a team, which was one of the higher points that any team got all year. Our guys really stepped up, and we were firing on all cylinders. We’re still riding that momentum. Who knows what will happen in Casper.”