The Mesalands Community College Rodeo Team placed one member in the top ten and had several near misses for national titles during their run on June 15-21 at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, Wyo., according to a college news release.
Mesalands had seven qualifiers for the CNFR, the second highest number of qualifiers on college rodeo team in the state.
“The college finals went well and I’m very proud of our student athletes. I was impressed that our small college was extremely competitive against some of the other major universities. In some cases, they competed better than the other universities,” said Tim Abbott, intercollegiate rodeo coach. “Our student athletes didn’t feel outgunned or outclassed by anybody. They felt that they belonged there, because they did.”
Sophomore Daniel Baeza of Chihuahua, Mexico, advanced to the short round in team roping. Baeza had a strong performance at the 2014 CNFR and finished 10th in the nation.
Abbott said some of Mesalands competitors, did have a couple of setbacks during their CNFR run that kept them from winning a national title.
In tie-down roping, the first calf attempted by sophomore Kit Pettigrew of Ft. Sumner kicked out of his tie before the six-second time limit. This run basically took his chances of winning a national title away. Pettigrew did rebound very well with his second calf with a near-record eight second run, the fastest of the CNFR run.
Sophomores Chaz Kananen, header, of Roy, Mont., and Morgan McVay, heeler, of Sparks, Nev., had a solid performance in the third round of team roping, snaring their last steer in 4.5 seconds. They too would have been close to setting a CNFR record, but Kananen broke the barrier, which cost them a national title.
Other Mesalands CNFR competitors included: Edmiles Harvey of Tsalini Spring, Ariz., bareback riding; Devren Meyers of Sante Fe, bull riding; and Betty Pack of Aztec, breakaway roping.
Mesalands Community College President Dr. Thomas W. Newsom celebrated the accomplishments of the CNFR qualifiers by hosting a luncheon for the student athletes and their families in Casper. He presented each student with a trophy.
“Our Mesalands student athletes did a fantastic job at the college finals. They represented our institution and our community very well,” Newsome said. “We are very proud of their hard work and dedication to both their athletics and academics.”
Coach Abbott plans to have 25-30 student athletes on Mesaland’s 2014-15 rodeo team with seven to eight returning members and about 20 freshmen.
“The college finals really encouraged me going forward,” Abbott said. “Our rodeo team obtained some amazing experience and that got them excited about working hard and practicing hard, as we get ready for next year.”
Mesalands Community College will host their 7th Annual Grand Canyon Region Intercollegiate Rodeo at the Quay County Rodeo Arena on October 10-11, 2014.