June 22, 2018

Tarleton’s Berghuis’ strong bareback season translates to CNFR appearance

Tyler Berghuis, bareback rider for Tarleton State University's Rodeo Team, will make his first College National Finals Rodeo appearance later this month after winning the Southwest Region's reserve champion title.
STEPHENVILLE (May 31, 2018) — Tyler Berghuis’ first attempt at bareback riding was anything but successful.

A Tarleton State University senior majoring in agri-industries and agencies, he remembers that inaugural ride.

“I blew out the back door. I got kicked, did a full backflip and landed on my stomach. Probably one of the worst rides you could have. But I was ready to go again. I loved it all.”

It’s a good thing the Atwater, Minn., native didn’t let that experience as a high school sophomore discourage him.

After winning the 2018 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Southwest Region reserve championship, he’s on his way to Casper, Wyo., for the College National Finals Rodeo set June 8-16.

Tyler earned three second-place finishes and came in no lower than fourth in seven of 10 NIRA stops in 2017-18, including two fall rodeos he missed due to a ruptured appendix.

“This year was my hardest year,” he said. “I’m really glad that things turned out like they did. I missed two in the first semester, but that motivated me. It made me focus on winning and qualifying for the CNFR.”

A high school football player and wrestler, Tyler was recruited by Tarleton when he came to Texas for a bareback school.

“Coach Mark Eakin told me I ought to come check out the school,” Tyler said. “I thought, ‘Why not? I’m already here.’ It was the only school I toured. When I saw it, I knew this was it. I loved it, and I knew this is where I wanted to be.”

Now, after four years of competing for Tarleton, he’s ready for his first appearance at Casper.

“I’m really excited,” he said. “I have high hopes for our team, and I feel like this is our year. We’ve worked hard all year long, and it’s time to collect the trophy.

“My biggest goal is to not think about it too much. I’m going to go in confident. Believe in myself. Just take one ride at a time and keep a clear head.”

After the CNFR, he plans to remain at the university to earn his master’s degree, then perhaps move home to watch his little brother graduate.

And keep rodeoing.

“For sure,” he said. “I plan to keep living the dream.”

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