Utah Valley rodeo heads to nationals

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The rodeo club will be heading to Casper Wyoming to compete in the Colligiate National Finals Rodeo (CNFR). The competition will begin on June 12th and run through the 18th at the Casper Events Center. Over 400 riders and ropers representing over 100 universities will be present for what the CNFR calls the ‘Rose Bowl’ of college rodeo.

The team has grown a lot this year to make it to this point. Team coach Shane Draper has been particularly proud of the team’s mental toughness this year, as well as the team’s ability to let the past stay in the past and move on to the next ride.

“They have hit bumps in the road and didn’t stew on them,” Draper said.

This mental toughness has given the team high hopes for this year’s CNFR competition. “Of the six guys we’re taking I think each one of them has the ability to win a championship,” said Draper.

The team is taking six riders who will compete in six different events. Caleb Bennett (Bare Back Riding), Brock Winn (Saddle bronc riding), Luke Pulham (calf roping), Ryley Johnson (steer wrestling), Ben Carson (steer wrestling), and Chris Roundy (bull riding) will all compete for the Wolverines. Each of them qualified in their respective competitions and as a team, placing second in the Rocky Mountain region.

Regional foe College of Southern Idaho is the top-ranked team both in region and the nation. UVU is currently ranked sixth.

The team is also looking forward to next season. There will be many new strong additions to the team, especially on the women’s side.

“Our women’s team will be as strong as our men’s team this next year”, Draper said.

The team will be excited to compete at this year’s finals and return next year with a solid base, ready to make another run to Casper for CNFR 2012.