The Chadron State College cowboys who qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper last week didn’t fare well there. CSC coach Dustin Luper said he was disappointed, not with their effort but with the results.
Neither bull rider Dakota Rice nor steer wrestler Kalane Anders received a score during any of their three runs. The third contestant, Rowdy Moon, rode all three of his barebacks, but his 198.5 cumulative point total left him 24 points behind the 12th and final qualifier for Saturday night’s championship go-round.
“Things just didn’t work out for us,” Luper noted.
Rice certainly wasn’t the only bull rider to hit the arena floor early. Nineteen of the remaining 37 national qualifiers also came up empty all three go-rounds. Just four bull riders, including national champion Will Centoni of Cuesta College in California, rode two bulls. Thirteen others stayed aboard just one bull. No one made it to the eight second buzzer Saturday night.
Centoni emerged as the rodeo’s all-around cowboy by also placing seventh in saddle bronc riding.
Luper said Anders “was a touch late” leaving the box on his three steer wrestling runs and “kind of went over the top” when he caught up with the steers.
The coach said he’s glad Anders has another year of college eligibility and believes if the Bayard cowboy keeps working he will someday qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
“He has a lot of potential,” Luper said. “He’s the best bulldogger I’ve ever coached. Sometimes maybe he tries too hard and he needs to improve his horsemanship, but he’s got all the other things going for him.”
This is the third year in row that Moon has ridden all three of his barebacks at the college finals. He also qualified as a freshman and a sophomore at Mid-Plains College in North Platte before joining the CSC team last fall. But he’s never scored enough points to be among the 12 finalists at Casper.
“Rowdy made a really good ride in the second go-round,” said Luper, who also was a bareback rider in college and still competes several times each summer. “He earned 71 points and I thought the judges could have given him a few more.”
Luper added that Moon was “a little too straight-legged” while spurring during his other two rides.
The CSC coach said the bronc Moon drew in the third go-round is named “Strike Fire,” and the horse Luper won first place on at a rodeo eight years ago.
Despite his age, Luper said “Strike Fire” is still going strong.
Moon, a native of Sargent, also has another year of eligibility. With his three successful rides in Casper, Moon scored on 22 of the 23 broncs he drew at college rodeos during the 2017-18 season.
The all-around cowgirl at the CNFR was Mia Manzanares from McNeese State in Louisiana. She won both the breakaway roping and the goat tying. She was on fire during Saturday night’s finals, catching her calf in 1.7 seconds and setting an arena record of 5.9 seconds in goat tying.
Kellen Johnson of Gillette College and Trey Yates of Casper College won the team roping, making their four runs in 30 seconds flat. The second place team’s times totaled 54.6 seconds. None of the other teams had successful runs in all four go-rounds.
Johnson and Yates also were the team roping champions in the Central Rocky Mountain Region this year.