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RANGELY I The Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) rodeo team made its mark in more ways than one at the last rodeo of the season, Mesa University’s Maverick Stampede and at the Rocky Mountain Regional awards ceremony over the weekend.
Freshman bull rider Brice Osborne finished the season as the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Rocky Mountain Region reserve champion, cinching a spot at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, Wyo., in June.
Clint Chew, a sophomore bull rider from Maybell, Colo., who first came to the sport a year-and-a-half ago, won the Stampede’s bull riding event. Chew made his first qualified ride of the season on Friday then took the title in the championship round Saturday night.
The Spartan Showdown, CNCC’s first collegiate rodeo hosted at Columbine Park on April 5-6, was Runner-Up Rocky Mountain Region Rodeo of the Year, coming in just two votes behind regional powerhouse College of Southern Idaho (CSI).
Team roper Dax Hadlock’s mare, Pepper Lewis, was named the AQHA Rocky Mountain Region Men’s Horse of the Year.
Yes, it was a good weekend to be CNCC.
Head rodeo coach Jed Moore said his team’s values speak to more than just ability.
“I couldn’t be more excited with the athletes I’ve got on my team,” Moore said. “What we may lack in talent we make up for in effort and training and hard work.”
Like the hard work that brought the top two Rocky Mountain Region bull riders, CSI’s Trent Jacobson and Osborne, within just two points of each other. With final season standings at 645 and 643 points, respectively, Moore said it was the closest regional title race that coaches can remember.
He also said that if Osborne rides like he’s capable of, he could be in the final round with the top bull riders in the nation come June.
Then there was Chew, whose win over the weekend was a particularly sweet spot for the rodeo team.
“Clint works hard and tries hard every single practice and had yet to make a whistle,” Moore said. “Not only our team, but members of other teams, were cheering for Clint. To see him finally succeed at the last rodeo of the year was a perfect ending.”
The rodeo and horse of the year awards put the icing on the cake.
Unless you count Moore being voted the 2012-2013 Rocky Mountain Region Coach of the Year.
“It was unexpected for sure,” Moore said. “It’s been one of my goals since I became a coach. It’s a great award because it’s decided on by your peers. The coaches, assistant coaches and event directors vote on that.”
Moore is now one of 11 coaches up for the NIRA Coach of the Year, to be voted on by CNFR contestants this summer.
Overall, it’s been a great ride, with expectations of more to come.
Moore looks forward to seeing what returning athletes will do next year, along with new recruits from Oregon, Montana, and Colorado.
“I think we’ve got a great opportunity to really be contenders next year,” Moore said.