STEPHENVILLE — Sarah Angelone and Maddy Deerman have successfully battled the best breakaway ropers in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Southwest Region all season long. Time for the next level.
The Tarleton State University rodeo standouts will now, for the second straight year, challenge the nation’s best at the College National Finals Rodeo, June 12-18 in Casper, Wyo.
Sarah, the regional champ two years in a row, established her dominance with first-place finishes at Texas Tech and Howard College rodeos during the regular season.
“I felt like this season I set myself up better to make the college finals,” she said. “Last year I came into the last rodeo in 11th place. That created a lot of pressure. This year I was third and I knew I was probably going to the CNFR. I was more relaxed and able to turn in a performance that was good enough for the (regional) championship.”
A native of Cross Junction, Va., where at 16 she was the national champion high school breakaway roper, Sarah signed to compete at Weatherford College.
“I went to Weatherford and rodeoed for two years,” she said, “but I knew I wanted to come here. I had kept up with Tarleton since high school. It was definitely on my radar.”
After the ’21 CNFR she realized she was “overthinking” things. “This year I want to make good, logical runs and rope four calves clean. I really would love to win, but I need to make the four best runs I can make to do that.”
Her fellow CNFR qualifier finished third among breakaway ropers in the region. Maddy said competing with Sarah every week during the season has made her better.
“Sarah is one of the toughest ropers in the region, in the state and in the nation. It’s great to be on the same team to bounce off each other and push each other. We may be each other’s toughest competition.
Maddy, a recent graduate with a degree in geoscience, hails from Hope, N.M. She qualified for the CNFR with a strong push the last few weeks of the season, taking third at rodeos hosted by Ranger College and Howard College.
“I’m really glad I have that first year at Casper under my belt,” she said. “Now I know more about what to expect and what my game plan should be.
“I’m entering a bunch of rodeos on the way to Casper and focusing mainly on just catching. Maybe in the past I would concentrate on trying to rope fast. At Casper, as long as I get four clean runs that’ll put me in the running for a championship.”
A roper from an early age, Maddy captured New Mexico state high school championships in both team roping, as a header, and in breakaway roping. She also won the Best of the Best breakaway competition and placed in the top five in both the National High School Finals and the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla.
After high school she headed to Texas, enrolling in Sam Houston State University and competing on the school’s rodeo team. However, it just wasn’t a good fit.
“I had heard a lot about Tarleton’s rodeo tradition,” she said. “It is an honor to get to go there. It makes you much more competitive, much sharper to be around all the ropers in Stephenville.”
Now a graduate, she will don the purple vest for the last time in Casper with one goal.
“I’m expecting a national championship out of myself this year,” she said. “I’ve been working hard, and this is my shot at it.”
Two of the best.
Just one can win.
Should be interesting.