CNCC’s cowboys perform well at national finals

RANGELY I As a team, Colorado Northwestern Community College rodeo athletes placed in the top half of colleges and universities in the country at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, Wyo., last week.
Bull rider Brice Osborne was one of just eight athletes to ride his bull in the first round, earning fourth place in the round. Osborne was bucked off his bull in the second round but still qualified for the final round, finishing as the 12th-ranked bull rider in the nation.
CNCC team roper Dax Hadlock and the College of Southern Idaho’s Chuck Povey finished 23rd. Hadlock roped the calf’s heels in the first two rounds, but Povey’s head catch miss in the second round prevented the team from moving into the finals.
Hadlock’s partner for the regular season, Clay Crozier, paired with Idaho State University’s Gus Hill for the CNFR. Crozier roped his steers in all three rounds, but Hill missed two of three catches, netting the team a 35th-place finish at the event.
“CNCC rodeo athletes showed up to the CNFR prepared for the high level of competition,” head rodeo coach Jed Moore said. “Both of our team ropers executed everything they needed to execute.”
The CNFR, dubbed the “Rose Bowl” of college rodeo, is in its 64th year as one of the most prestigious rodeo competitions in the U.S.
The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) encompasses college and university teams regardless of school size, which means that CNCC athletes competed against regional powerhouses like the College of Southern Idaho and the University of Wyoming, Murray State University and New Mexico State University.
It also means the CNFR itself — complete with nine events, approximately 400 athletes from 100 schools and additional attractions like a softball tournament, style show fundraiser and cowboy church services — is as good as it gets on the college circuit.
“The CNFR may only be rivaled in production by the National Finals Rodeo,” Moore said. “The speed at which the event runs, the quality of the competition — everything is top-notch.”
Though Moore, a college and professional bull rider before becoming a coach, never competed at the CNFR, he has attended the event for the last couple of years. This was the first year, however, that he’s had athletes competing.
“I was probably more nervous for them than they were,” Moore said. “All of my athletes stepped up and competed to the best of their ability, and that’s all I can ask.”
Of the approximately 100 teams competing at the event, CNCC came in 44th in final team standings.
As Moore looks ahead to the 2013-2014 season and the team’s first rodeo in Cedar City, Utah, on Sept. 6-7, he said some new faces may be vying for national titles next year.
“I would not be surprised next year if the powerhouse CNCC team is the women’s team,” Moore said.
Individual athletes to watch include sophomore points leader Devon Vondette, returners Osborne and Hadlock, and bareback rider Jesse Anderson.