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Rangers ready for college finals

Twisted Rodeo - Wed, 06/10/2015 - 11:01am

ALVA, Okla. – For every individual accomplishment in college rodeo, there sits a long list of others on the team who are part of every honor, every award.

That’s been a vital part of the Northwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo team’s run through the 2014-15 season and why the Rangers women claimed the Central Plains Region championship. Now they hope that carries over into a solid run during next week’s College National Finals Rodeo, set for June 14-20 in Casper, Wyo.

Stockton Graves

Stockton Graves

“I like our girls’ chances a lot at Casper,” said Stockton Graves, a Northwestern alumnus who coaches the Rangers. “The girls were really focused this year on winning the region. They’re really focused on trying to win a national title, too.

“Maybe in the past, that hasn’t been the goal with the girls. It’s always been my goal, but this year it’s their goal, too.”

The women are paced by two goat-tiers, junior Shayna Miller of Faith, S.D., and senior Lauren Barnes of Buckeye, Ariz., who finished first and second, respectively, in the region standings.

Shayna Miller

Shayna Miller

They will be joined by a pair of breakaway ropers, senior Karley Kile of Overbrook, Kan., and freshman Sammi McGuire of Backus, Minn., who both finished out of the top three automatic qualifications but still earned the right to compete at the college finale since the team finished among the top two in the region and Kile and McGuire were among the top 30 percent in the breakaway standings.

“Karley just got bumped out of making the college finals on her own at the last rodeo,” Graves said. “That’s the thing about having a good women’s team; we had girls that get to know the college finals were within reach.”

The women’s team will be joined by two from the men’s team, senior header Dalton Richards of Hawkinsville, Ga., and freshman steer wrestler Grayson Allred of Kanarraville, Utah. Richards finished second among regional headers, while Allred was third.

Karley Kile

Karley Kile

“I thought we should’ve qualified more men this year,” Graves said. “We just didn’t take advantage of the situations. Bubba (Allred) did. Dalton’s been strong all year. I was really glad to see Dalton make it. He’s been fourth the last few years and couldn’t quite get over the hump. I was very proud of him for doing that.

“This year had probably the toughest group of steer wrestlers in this region since I’ve been coaching. For Bubba to come in as a freshman and do good says something for him. He’s a good kid and works hard, and I like his attitude.”

A men’s team title is unlikely with just two qualifiers, but Graves still has high expectations for the duo.

“I set the goals for them pretty high,” he said. “The odds are that two guys aren’t going to win a national title, but that shouldn’t be their goal anyway. I think they should try to win a national title for themselves. We have yet to have a national champion from here in Alva, and that’s our goal. I want those kids to compete well.”

That also will be the key for the Rangers women. Miller and Barnes dominated the goat tying in the region – Miller scored 1,005 points, while Barnes was a close second at 900; she was 225 ahead of the third-place cowgirl.

“Shayna coming in as a junior transfer was very important to our team, but we knew she would do good,” Graves said. “She came in like the rest of them; she was focused and worked hard at it and has accomplished what she wanted to do so far. She was a great asset to the team, but she didn’t win the regional title on her own.

“For Lauren, she just missed he college finals as a freshman. That motivated her a lot to do better and work harder. Lauren’s always been a hard worker. Part of maturing is learning how to win.”

The Rangers have done that quite a bit over the season. That experience, and the right mentality, will help them in Casper.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Big Tex returns to bareback riding

Twisted Rodeo - Tue, 06/09/2015 - 6:29pm
George Gillespie of Elgin, Ore., rides Big Tex for 90 points during the 2010 Crossett, Ark., rodeo. Big Tex was the 2010 Bareback Horse of the Year and has been a saddle bronc every year since. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

George Gillespie of Elgin, Ore., rides Big Tex for 90 points during the 2010 Crossett, Ark., rodeo. Big Tex was the 2010 Bareback Horse of the Year and has been a saddle bronc every year since. The gelding returns to bareback riding this week in Weatherford, Texas. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

WEATHERFORD, Texas – It’s been four years since Big Tex has bucked at a rodeo in bareback riding.

The Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo horse returns to his original discipline this week during the Parker County Frontier Days and PRCA Rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 10-Saturday, June 13, at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Arena.

Big Tex is a 15-year-old bay gelding sired by the great Night Jacket. In 2010, he was the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Bareback Horse of the Year, and he’s been selected to perform at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo each of the past nine years; his last three have come in saddle bronc riding.

He is one of many top Carr animals that will buck in Weatherford this week, matched with one of the top young bareback riders in the game in Chad Rutherford of Itasca, Texas, a former College National Finals Rodeo qualifier.

Luke Creasy

Luke Creasy

There are some incredible match-ups scheduled for the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Arena, including several elite cowboys matched with some of the best animals in the game. Luke Creasy, the No. 6 bareback rider in the standings, will ride Night Bells, an 11-year-old gelding that has bucked at the NFR five times.

Other bareback riding match-ups include Yvan Jayne, the fourth-ranked bareback rider, on Utopia; Jared Smith, a two-time NFR qualifier, on Good Time Charlie; Taylor Price on Alberta Child; and Winn Ratliff, a two-time NFR qualifier, on Dirty Jacket, the reigning Horse of the Year.

In saddle bronc riding, Wade Sundell, a six-time NFR qualifier, will try his hand on Manhatten Moon, a young horse on which Sundell won the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo with a 91-point ride. Other key rides will be Travis Sheets on Gold Coast, Doug Aldridge on Spur Strap, Cort Scheer on Cowboy Cowtown and Bradley Harter on Cool Runnings.

Two-time NFR bull riding qualifier Elliot Jacoby will be matched with Footloose, while four-time qualifier Tate Stratton will battle Missing Parts and Jacob O’Mara will try his hand on Poker Face, the reserve runner-up bull of the year in 2014.

The Weatherford rodeo has a grand history in the game, and the match-ups have set a strong standard for this year’s event to be one of the best ever.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Top cowboys heading to Crosby

Twisted Rodeo - Tue, 06/09/2015 - 4:55pm

CROSBY, Texas – There’s a reason why many of the top cowboys in the game have circled the dates on the calendar for the Crosby Fair and Rodeo.

Clint Cannon

Clint Cannon

They know they’ll get the best bucking horses and bulls from Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, the firm that produces the annual event set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday at Rock’n C Arena.

“Pete Carr has the bucking horses and bulls that are unreal,” said bareback rider Clint Cannon, a four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Waller, Texas. “When I think about Pete Carr, I think about 90-point rides, rock ’n’ roll music and fans loving it.”

Cannon will be one of several NFR qualifiers scheduled to compete in Crosby. It’s one of the attractive features the county has when the fair and rodeo takes place each June.

Cody Teel

Cody Teel

This year’s event also will feature Cody Teel, the 2012 world champion bull rider from Kountze, Texas, and a three-time NFR qualifier. It’s more than a close drive from home for Teel; he understands the drawing power the Carr firm has for cowboys.

“He’s got the best bull pen going,” Teel said of Carr. “He’s got my vote for stock contractor of the year. He really tries to put together a good set of bulls, and it shows. There wasn’t one bull you didn’t want to get on. He gives a guy every opportunity to win.

“I was more anxious for his rodeos this year because of his bulls. You know you’re going to draw pretty good. It showed this year. All his rodeos had a lot of big scores, which shows how good the bulls really are. He definitely has the deepest set of bulls in rodeo.”

Heith DeMoss

Heith DeMoss

Pete Carr is a two-time nominee for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Stock Contractor of the Year. Each of the past two seasons, 27 Carr animals were selected to buck at the NFR, an event record for the number of animals from one contractor.

That kind of firepower makes for an amazing show for rodeo-goers. Of course, having the top stars in town makes a big difference.

“Pete’s got an eye for horses, and he’s surrounded himself with people who know what they’re talking about,” said saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a six-time NFR from Heflin, La. “You want to go to Pete’s rodeos, because you’re going to get on something.”

The key for any competitor is having a chance to win any time they are in the arena. Cowboys know that will be possible in Crosby.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo
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