Mesalands rodeo team has strong run at finals

Special to QCS

Six Mesalands Community College Rodeo team members competed June 14-20 at the 2015 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming.

Sophomore Betty Pack of Aztec, competed in her third college finals rodeo in breakaway roping. She recorded a time of 2.4 seconds on her first calf, which placed her sixth in the first round.

Pack had an unfortunate incident in the second round, as the barrier rope caught her foot and jerked her back on her saddle, causing her to miss her second calf. This immediately took her out of contention for a national title. On her third calf, Pack had a run of 2.3 seconds and was in fourth place in the third round.

“We had some really encouraging performances this year. Probably the most heart-breaking one for me was Betty Pack. Any time on that second calf would have brought her back to the short round,” said Tim Abbott, intercollegiate rodeo coach. “We are very proud of her resiliency and her mental toughness during the rodeo. She wasn’t nervous or intimidated. She did her job, just like she was supposed to.”

Overall, Pack had a time of 4.7 seconds on two calves and a time of 9.1 seconds on three calves, which was the fastest time on three calves at the rodeo. She finished the season 14thin the nation.

Freshman Chace Valdez of Estancia, competed in tie-down roping at finals. Valdez placed on his first calf with a time of 11 seconds in the first round. He missed his second calf and received a no score in the second round. This took him out of contention for the national title.

Abbott said for Valdez to come from the high school ranks to the college ranks is a pretty big step. He said he was impressed with how Valdez competed and placed at his first college finals.

Valdez said he will be competing on the Mesalands rodeo team next year and expects to return to the finals.

Sophomore Edmiles Harvey of Tsalini Springs, Arizona, competed at the college finals for the second consecutive time in bareback riding.

Harvey earned 70 points on his first horse and had a little trouble on his second horse and had a score of 60 points in the second round.

Abbott said his third horse was not the caliber of animal Harvey needed to qualify for the short round. He says he is still proud of Harvey, who had three qualified rides at this year’s college finals, compared to one last year.

In bull riding, sophomore Adriano Long of Dilkon, Arizona, rode five bulls instead of three at the college finals, due to a couple of re-ride options. Long did not have a qualified ride and only 12 bull riders actually did during the rodeo.

Abbott said he was really happy that Long came back to Mesalands and accomplished his goal of qualifying for the finals. He said the finals did not go the way Long expected, but to get to ride on that grand stage, is something he is sure to remember.

Finals competitors sophomore Jacob Rounds of Broadalbin, New York, (steer wrestling) and freshman Chance Hunter from Chinle, Arizona, (team roping) qualified for their first CNFR. They gained the experience of competing at the largest college rodeo of the year, and will be competing on the Mesalands Rodeo Team next year, hoping to improve their performance.

“We have a long-standing tradition at Mesalands to have CNFR qualifiers each year,” Abbott said. “We will continue to expect that, but it doesn’t lessen the accomplishments of our CNFR competitors.”

Also during the 2015 CNFR, Mesalands Community College hosted a President’s Luncheon for the student-athletes and their families in Casper. Families from Arizona, New Mexico, and New York were represented at the luncheon. Mesaland President Dr. Thomas W. Newsom, celebrated the students’ accomplishments by presenting each student with a plaque.

“On behalf of Mesalands Community College, I first want to recognize the parents of our student athletes, for your continued support. We would not have made it to this point, without your help,” Newsom said. “To our college national finals qualifiers, we are very proud of your dedication to both your academics and athletics this season. Qualifying to compete at this national rodeo, is an accomplishment in itself and you and your families should feel honored.”

The 2015-2016 Mesalands’ rodeo team will host their Eighth annual Grand Canyon Region Intercollegiate Fall Rodeo, October 9-10 at the Quay County Rodeo Arena.

Mesalands’ rodeo team will also host a rodeo competition for the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association (NMHSRA) on September 12-13 at the Quay County Rodeo Arena.

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