STEPHENVILLE (April 26, 2017) — Members of Tarleton State University’s rodeo teams cemented their plans for the summer with both men’s and women’s squads claiming spots at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in June, dominating performances at the Tarleton Stampede—the annual season finale.
The short-go featured 28 cowboys and cowgirls wearing the Purple and White, a second-place finish for the men and a seventh-place run for the women.
The weekend results gave each team a National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Southwest Region title and means that, for the eighth consecutive year, both teams are headed to Casper, Wyo., for a shot at respective national crowns.
Head coach Mark Eakin is pleased with the results from the hometown event.
“The students worked hard and did a great job to end up the weekend in first (in the region),” Eakin said. “They both went in with pretty good point leads, and they were able to hold them. I am really proud of them.”
Saddle bronc rider Brody Cress led Tarleton’s roughstock entrants, claiming first place over the weekend with a two-ride 151, including a short-go 77. Southwest Region champion bareback rider Kody Lamb scored a 73 in the finals for a two-round 143 for Tarleton.
In men’s timed events, Kody Treadaway walked away with a third-place finish in team roping.
Tarleton’s Taryn Parsonage, second place in the weekend all-around chase, posted a speedy two-head 5.8 to wind up third in breakaway roping for Tarleton’s women. McKenna Wagner flashed a strong two-round 15.2 time for second in goat tying.
For the season, the Tarleton men’s team garnered 4,707.33 points to easily outdistance second-place Western Texas College while the women scored 2,300 total points, 234.17 ahead of runner-up Eastern New Mexico.
The men’s team from Tarleton finished the 2017 campaign boasting four regional champions—saddle bronc rider Cress, bareback rider Lamb, team roping heeler Zach Kraus and Reid Zapalec, who topped leader boards as a team roping header and in the all-around competition.
Tarleton’s regional champion women were led on the season by goat tying champion Baili Collins and breakaway roper Lauren Bane, who captured event runner-up honors and was second in all-around competition, just 15 points behind champion Kynzie McNeil of Texas Tech.
The CNFR, set for June 11-17, features the top two teams from each of the NIRA’s 11 regions and the top two regional champions of each event.
Experience is on Tarleton’s side as several members are repeat CNFR qualifiers, including Lamb, who is headed for his fifth appearance, Collins her fourth and Bane her third.
“It’ll be nice that they’ll know what to expect,” Eakin said. “They’ve been there, so hopefully they’ll be ready to go.”
Does the coach see any major hurdles to a national championship?
“Ourselves,” he laughed. “When you go up there, you can’t control anything. There are animals involved, so there are always things that can happen. As long as we take care of business and don’t beat ourselves, we’ve got a good shot at it.”
For complete year-end standings for all 11 NIRA regions, visit www.collegerodeo.com.
About Tarleton State University Rodeo
Tarleton’s renowned rodeo program is known for having some of the toughest and most talented student competitors among National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association members. Competing for the Purple and White under the motto, “A Winning Tradition,” Tarleton’s rodeo teams have won seven national championship titles, 24 individual national championships and numerous NIRA Southwest Region titles since the program was established in 1947.
In 2016-17, Tarleton boasted one of the largest collegiate rodeo teams in the nation with 128 card-holding student members. To learn more about Tarleton’s rodeo program, see www.tarleton.edu/rodeo.