Tarleton State University bronc rider saddles up for third CNFR appearance

Brody Cress, saddle bronc rider for the Tarleton State University Rodeo Team, enjoyed much success during the 2017-18 season earning him a third trip to the College National Finals Rodeo. (Photo by Alan Rogers, Casper Star-Tribune)

STEPHENVILLE (June 7, 2018) — Tarleton State University saddle bronc rider Brody Cress captured six first-place finishes during the 2017-18 rodeo season to earn his third trip to the June 8-16 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo.

Even before such a dominant season, he was used to seeing his name at the top of leaderboards and standings.

Before coming to Tarleton, he was three-time high school wrestling champ at Hillsdale, Wyo.

He has won National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Region saddle bronc championships the last two seasons.

Last December, he became one of a handful of collegiate cowboys to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo, where he won the average after earning a spot in the CNFR, winning the preliminary round and finishing third in the nation.

“What I try to focus on is the process,” Brody said. “Doing the best I can every time I get on a bucking horse. It’s the same thing, whether it’s in the practice pen, in a college rodeo or on the biggest stage of the world.”

Tarleton rodeo coach Mark Eakin has seen his share of highly motivated collegiate competitors, and he knows Cress is special.

“Brody is one of the most focused and goal-oriented students I have ever coached,” Eakin said. “He is a team leader and a first-class person in and out of the arena.”

Brody graduated in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in ag business. He is now working on a master’s in agriculture consumer science while competing in his last college rodeo season.

The highlights of his final season at Tarleton included saddle bronc wins at the season opener at Eastern New Mexico and the season finale in Stephenville. He was also first at Texas Tech, Sul Ross, Ranger and Howard. Additionally, he took fourth at Vernon and fifth at Frank Phillips.

He accumulated 1,140 points in 10 rodeos, outdistancing regional reserve champion Tegan Smith by 265 points.

“I want to be successful,” Brody said. “That’s why I came down here to Tarleton.”

Mission accomplished.

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