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College Rodeo Athletes Racking Up Points at College National Finals Rodeo

CASPER, Wyo. (June 14, 2015) – Some cowboys and cowgirls at the College National Finals Rodeo made their team members very happy during the Bulls Broncs and Breakaway competition that kicked off the College National Finals Rodeo on Sunday afternoon.

The first rounds of bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding along with the breakaway roping were all completed in the Casper Events Center and not only did the successful contestants put themselves in a good position to win national titles, they also garnered very important points towards team titles. The top eight contestants in the individual rounds earn points according to their placing here. Every contestant in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and breakaway roping that placed in the first round is also part of their college or university’s team. Prior to the CNFR, coaches have to designate who is on their team so strategy to create a winning team is important. Men’s teams consist of six competitors and women’s teams have four.

Winning first place in the bareback riding with an 82 point score and gaining 80 points for Missouri Valley College was Tim O’Connell, from Zwingle, Iowa. O’Connell is a four-time CNFR qualifier who has had success here in the past but fell short of a national championship. He just graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in public relations and has made getting his education a priority. Last December he had to take his final exams early so he could travel to Las Vegas to compete at his first National Finals Rodeo.

The next generation of saddle bronc riding Wrights also had success when Rusty Wright, son of world champion and former college champion Cody Wright had a 75.5-point score. That was good enough for first place and also earned 80 points for the College of Southern Idaho.

There was a tie in the breakaway roping when University of Montana – Western’s Tess Turk and McNeese State Univeristy’s Cooper McKenzie each had times of 2.1 seconds. They earned their respective schools 75 points each.

There were five successful bull riders on Sunday afternoon. Trasen Jones from the College of Southern Idaho finished at the top of the leaderboard with a 77.5. Jones added another 80 points to the College of Southern Idaho’s team total.

Competition continues here on Monday morning at 7 a.m. where bareback riders, saddle bronc riders, bull riders and breakaway ropers will start the second round. Steer wrestlers, tie-down ropers, team ropers, barrel racers and goat tiers will all have their first round.

CASPER, Wyo.–The following are leaders from the College National Finals Rodeo after the Bulls, Broncs and Breakaway, June 14, 2015, courtesy of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Complete results are available at www.cnfr.com.

Bareback Riding: (first round) 1, Tim O’Connell, Missouri Valley College, 82 points. 2, Neil Williams, III, Casper College, 77.5. 3, Jamie Howlett, Western Texas Collee, 77. 4, Blake Smith, Dickinson State University, 76. 5, Jacob Lees, West Hills College, 75. 6, Dustin Jackson, Sam Houston State University, 74.5. 7, (tie Wyatt Denny, Panola Junior College, and Justin Pollmiller, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 74.

Breakaway Roping: (first round) 1, (tie) Tess Turk, University of Monatan – Western, and McKenzie Cooper, McNeese State University, 2.1 seconds each. 3, (tie) Brandi Hollenbeck, Garden City Community College, and Kirbie Crouse, Missouri Valley College, 2.2. 5, Katie Rice, Cal Poly State University – San Luis Obispo, 2.3. 6, Betty Pack, Mesalands Community College, 2.4. 7, Jessica Rowland, University of Arkansas – Monticello, 2.5. 8, (tie) Chelsea Bushnell, Feather River College; Macy Fuller, Central Arizona College; and Tamara Tunink, Western Texas College, 2.6 seconds each.

Saddle Bronc Riding: (first round) Rusty Wright, College of Southern Idaho, 75.5 points. 2, Dalton Rixen, Dickinson State University, 74. 3, Justin Harrell, Casper College, 72.5. 4, (tie) Dalton Kingery, Missouri Valley College, and Clay Elliott, Panhandle State University, 71. 6, Shade Etbauer, Panhandle State University, 69.5. 7, Jace Lane, Tarleton State University, 68.5. 8, Cash Robinson, Feather River College, 69.

Bull Riding: (first round) 1, Trasen Jones, College of Southern Idaho, 77.5 points. 2, Gray Essary, Ranger College, 75.5. 3, Bryan Carter, Oregon State University, 71.5. 4, Ryan Knutson, South Dakota State University, 71.0. 5, Tyler Stueve, Colorado Northwestern Community College, 69.0.