The Wolverine Rodeo club is putting in a strong showing at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR). The event began Sunday, June 12th at the Casper Events center in Casper Wyoming.
With over 100 universities represented, the Wolverines are proving they belong with the best.
The team took six riders competing in six different events and all are in the running to make their respective short rounds, or finals, for each event. The athletes compete in 3 rounds called G’s to qualify for the short round.
The top 12 in each event qualify for the short round.
“All six have a good shot at making the short round, and we would be very pleased to see that,” Draper said.
Draper added that he is “extremely proud of the whole team”, stating that “all six are stand-out men in my mind.”
Much of rodeo is the luck of the draw game. Before each event, each competitor randomly draws to see what animal he/she will compete with, hoping to get a bull or horse that will provide a good ride and lots of points.
Draper has been proud of the team’s reaction to its respective draws this season. “They haven’t let bad draws bother them this year,” he said.
Three riders have stepped up to lead the Wolverines at CNFR this year. Sophomore Broc Winn has been “a real standout,” according to Draper. As of Thursday he sat second in saddle bronc riding after two go’s and is set to make the short round. Broc’s first go was particularly impressive given the unfriendly conditions.
“He showed a lot of try and grit to weather the storm” Draper said, “[He put] together one of the best rides of the weekend. “
Senior Caleb Bennett put together what Draper called “three of the best rides of the week in the bare back riding.” Bennett, currently in third place, will also be making the short round and hoping for a good draw for his final ride. Draper has been really proud of Bennett’s performance and how his teammates look to him.
Ben Carson who is competing in a timed event the steer wrestling, strung together three good times to lock his place in the short round. He had an exceptional run Wednesday out of the chute. Carson’s steer dropped its head, a situation where most competitors would have lost control, but according to Draper he “stuck with it and pulled it out to get a qualifying run.”
As of Thursday Luke Pullham and Ryley Johnson were in 33rd and 31st place, respectively, with both holding favorable draws for their third go’s.
Chris Roundy, the bull rider of the group, was bucked off his first two bulls. A good ride on his third go, however could earn him a spot in the short round, Draper said.
“He has a good draw,” Draper said. “The bull fits his style and he should get lots of points.”
The Wolverines’ overall performance added up to a good standing going into the final days of CNFR, placing them 20th before the weekend. With all six riders having a chance to make the short round, the team is excited to see where they end up when the dust settles.