By Kimberly Hanna: Special to QCS
The Mesalands Community College rodeo team had the best college rodeo in the program’s history at the Tri-College Challenge in Taylor, Ariz., last weekend.
The team won eight titles, including the men’s team title and both the men’s and women’s all-around titles.
The men’s team claimed the team championship with 730 points. That set a school record. The women’s team placed third with 330 points.
The men were paced by J2 Bridges, who won both rounds and the average in the bareback riding with scores of 75 and 77 points, respectively. The 77-point ride was a personal best for the freshman from Hazelton, Idaho.
Bridges also won both rounds and the average in the steer wrestling.
Bridges was named the all-around champion at the rodeo.
Mesalands doubled up on the all-around titles with Sydni Blanchard of Albuquerque winning the women’s all-around title.
Blanchard was fourth in the first round of the goat tying with a run of 8.5 seconds. In the second round ,Blanchard had the fast time of the round with a 7.8-second run. Her two-run total of 16.3 seconds won her the average in the goat tying.
Blanchard’s most impressive win came in her signature event, the barrel racing. She turned in the two fastest runs of the rodeo on the way to a sweep.
Fran Marchand, of Omak, Wash., earned the bull riding average title at the Tri-College Challenge. Marchand placed third in the first round with a score of 72 points. In the second round, Marchand placed second with a 68-point ride. His two-head total of 140 was good enough for the first-place finish.
“This was by far the best college rodeo in the history of the program. We have J2, Fran and Sydni all score over 300 points at one rodeo,” said Mesalands Rodeo Coach C.J. Aragon.
“There is one rodeo left and we are still in contention to win more individual titles and possibly the men’s team title. Fran, J2 and Sydni all put themselves in contention to the regional all-around titles as well as individual event titles.”
For the third consecutive year Coach Aragon was named Grand-Canyon regional coach of the year.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are ranked nationally for the first time in school history.
Their next rodeo is this weekend at the Grand Canyon Regional Finals in Las Cruces.