UVU’s Brock Winn dominated his first ride at the College National Finals Rodeo. From there he used a strategy from his studies as an aviation science major.
He kept climbing — all the way to second in the nation.
The sophomore sensation thrilled the Casper, WY locals in his week-long surge, coming out of the chute to roaring applause in Saturday’s championship final in a show worthy of his final horse’s name: Elvis.
UVU head coach Shane Draper was adament that Winn’s finish was anything but surprising.
“I’ve watched him all year, and he’d gotten on some horses that should have bucked him off,” Draper said. “He didn’t slow down. He’s so good.”
Winn finished with 302 total points, just two behind national champion Jacob Crawley (Texas A&M) and a full six points ahead of Wyoming’s Merritt Smith. Winn led by one half point going into Saturday’s final.
The third-place finish earned Carson a $1,000 scholarship — and furthered the reputation of what has quickly a juggernaut program for the Wolverines.
“There are some teams that have a lot more kids than us, but the quality that we have, not just the way they perform, but the quality of the kids we have is awesome,” Draper said. “We’re fortunate to have the kids that we do.”
Of the 100-plus universities represented at this year’s CNFR, Utah Valley finished No. 12 overall.
“My goal is just to keep growing the program and be back here every year,” Draper said. “We’ve got some of the best athletes in the country and their top scores at this event prove that.”
“It’s a neat thing that [UVU] has done that well on a national level,” Winn added. “It’s something to brag about. I take a lot of pride in that.”