STEPHENVILLE — Dominant fall performances from both Tarleton State University rodeo teams, as well as stellar individual performances mean there’ll be lots of purple vests at the College National Finals Rodeo, planned for June 14-20 in Casper, Wyo.
Both the men’s and women’s squads claimed National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Regional titles before the season was ended in February due to the corona virus outbreak that halted all college spring sports.
Tarleton’s men accumulated more than 3,000 points in just six rodeos in the abbreviated season, topping second-place Western Texas College by 630 points. The men scored first-place wins at Eastern New Mexico, Frank Phillips College, and Texas Tech and took second at Odessa, in what would be the final stop of the regular season.
The women earned first-place finishes at Sul Ross and Odessa, while taking second at Vernon College and third at Texas Tech.
Ten individual qualifiers will represent Tarleton at the annual CNFR, including saddle bronc riders Brody Cress and Jake Barnes; bull rider Colton Kelly; steer wrestlers Kyler Dick and Brett Stuart; team roping heeler Paden Bray; barrel racers Timber Allenbrand and Caroline Kelly; and breakaway ropers Taylor Schmidt and Makayla Boisioli.
Cress, a three-time qualifier to the CNFR, earned the Southwest Region title, winning at ENMU, Frank Phillips and Texas Tech. Barnes, who took third in the region, claimed runner-up honors at Vernon and Odessa, was third at Eastern New Mexico and fourth at Texas Tech.
Kelly, who racked up team points with his first at Sul Ross and a second at FPC, finished the season in third place within the Southwest.
Dick, who captured the regional event crown, and teammate Stuart, who was reserve champion, combined for three firsts, two runner-up finishes and a fourth in the six stops that made up the season.
Bray’s season highlight was a first-place finish at Texas Tech, which helped him third in the region in his event.
Schmidt, the regional champion breakaway roper, finished in the top spot at Vernon and was second at the season’s first rodeo at ENMU. Boisioli, second at Odessa and third at FPC, qualified for Casper by taking third in the final regional standings.
The women qualifiers also feature Allenbrand, the reserve champion barrel racer; and Kelly, who finished one spot behind in the event. Allenbrand posted championship runs at ENMU and Texas Tech, while Kelly was best in the event at SRSU and runner-up at Vernon.
Tarleton rodeo boasts seven national team titles and 28 individual CNFR champs, including one in each of the last three years.