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CNFR champions to be named in Casper

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) returns to Casper June 12-18 at the Ford Wyoming Center. National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) champions will be crowned in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying. National team championship titles will be awarded to both men and women teams. 

Over 400 cowboys and cowgirls from over 100 universities and colleges compete throughout the year to earn their ticket to Casper. The top three students in each event from each region and the top two men’s and women’s teams from the NIRA’s 11 regions qualify to compete.

Several Central Rocky Mountain Region contestants will be making an appearance at this year’s CNFR. The following schools make up this region: Casper College (CC); Central Wyoming College; Chadron State College; Colorado State University; Eastern Wyoming College (EWC); Gillette College (GILLET); Lamar Community College; Laramie County Community College (LCCC); Northeastern Junior College (NEJC); Otero Junior College; Sheridan College; and University of Wyoming (UW).

Team standings 

In the men’s team national standings as of May 16, UW finished the rodeo season in second place with a total of 9,065 points. CC finished the season in ninth place with a total of 5,670 points. Missouri Valley College (MVC) and UW men’s teams will both compete for the championship titles in Casper. 

In the women’s team standings, UW finished 15th with 2,560 points. Blue Mountain Community College (BLUE) and Cal Poly State University – San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) will compete for championship titles. 

Saddle bronc riding

Going into the CNFR, Garrett R. Uptain is sitting in first place in the saddle bronc riding event, representing UW. He rode for a total of 1,400 season points. Ryder L. Standford of McNeese State University is sitting in second place with a total of 1,331.5 points, and Quintin H. McWhorter of CAPSLO, with 1,228.5 points, is sitting in third place. LCCC’s Sage L. Miller and CC’s Quinten J. Taylor from the Central Rocky Mountain Region will also be competing. 

Bareback riding

In the bareback riding event, Mitchell T. Parham is sitting in first place from California State University – Fresno with 1,580 points. Brice E. Patterson of UW is sitting in second with 1,545 points. Cole Parker Franks from MVC is sitting in third place with 1,495 points. 

Other Central Rocky Mountain Region contestants include Donny B. Proffitt of UW. He is sitting in fourth place in the national standings with 1,490 points. In addition, Myles R. Carlson of CC will also be competing in the bareback riding event.

Bull riding 

In the bull riding event, Ray P. Mayo from Lassen College is sitting in first place with 820 points, Tristen A. Hutchings from Sul Ross State University is sitting in second place with 775 points and Brek Steve Sanderson from College of Southern Idaho (CSID) is sitting in third place with 730 points. 

Contestants from the Central Rockies include Stefan A. Tonita of LCCC, who is sitting in 15th place with 490 points, Garrett R. Uptain of UW is sitting in 17th place with 460 points and Coby J. Johnson of SHERID, who is sitting in 10th place with 590 points. 

Tie-down roping 

Sitting in first place in the tie-down roping event with 1,366 points is Caleb S. Berquist of Montana State University (MTSU). In second-place is Drake P. Wycherley of Weber State University with 1,190 points, and in third-place is Wyatt A. Vankoll with 1,123 points of BLUE.

In addition, Linkyn L. Petersek of CC, Chadron S. Coffield of UW and Myles R. Kenzy of GILLET will be representing the Central Rocky Mountain Region in the college finals.

Steer wrestling 

The top three steer wrestlers in the national standings include Chance J. Grill of South Dakota State University, Myles C. Neighbors of East Mississippi Community College (EMSCC) and Garrett Keith Shell of Feather River College with 1,045 points, 975 points and 914 points respectively. 

Bernard W. Girard of LCCC, Brice E. Patterson, Austin T. Hurlburt and Cam Jensen both of UW will also be competing in the steer wrestling competition during the CNFR. 

Team Roping 

In the team roping heading event, Kellan J. Johnson of CC is sitting in first place with 950 points, Jace C. Hanks of Utah Valley University (UVU) is in second-place with 945 points and in third is JC Yeahquo of Western Oklahoma State College with 925 points. 

In the team roping heeling event, top three contestants include Carson J. Johnson of CC, Wyatt J. Ahlstrom of UVU and LJ Yeahquo of Oklahoma State University, with 950 points, 945 points and 925 points respectively as of May 16. 

Brodie J. Mattson of GILLET and CC team members Nevada R. Berquist, Braden C. Brost and Trae W. Smith will also be competing. 

Barrel racing 

EMSCC’s Jaylie P. Matthews is sitting first in the national standings with 1,225 points, Sadie J. Wolaver of Southwestern Oklahoma State University is sitting in second place with 1,130 points and Shelby A. Higgins of CSID is in third place with 1,110 points. 

Ellie A. Bard of GILLET, Kady L. Locke of CC and Karissa H. Rayhill of EWC will also be competing from the Central Rocky Mountain Region in the barrel racing competition. 

Currently, Rayhill is sitting ninth in the national standings with 910 points and Bard is in 12th place position with 805 points.

Breakaway roping 

Breakaway ropers from the region will include Payton N. Feyder and Hayden H. Madsen of LCCC, Talli A. Pokorny and Emily A. Knust of GILLET and Wacey L. Day of NEJC.  

The top breakaway ropers are Mikenna R. Schauer with 1,092 points of Northern Montana State University. In second place is Raegan L. Steed with 660 points of CSID and in third place with 655.3 points is Kimberly P. Williams of Walla Wall Community College (WWCC).

Goat tying 

Rounding out the contestants for the region in goat tying is Faith L. Hoffman, Riata L. Day, Taylour Q. Latham and Kelsey M. Lensegrav of UW, Emily A. Knust of GILLET, Karissa H. Rayhill of EWC and Wacey L. Day of NEJC.

The top three goat tying contestants include Heather E. McLaughlin of University of West Alabama with 1,255 points in the national standings, Paige N. Rasmussen of MTSU with 1,160 points and Opal J. Harkins with 1,112.5 points of University of South Dakota.


In the men’s all-around, Cole P. Franks from MVC is in first place with 2,565 points, Caleb S. Berquist of MTSU is in second with 2,497.5 points and Ty C. Pope from MVC is in third place with 2,445 points. UW’s Brice E. Patterson and Garrett R. Uptain are in the fourth and fifth positions for the all-around title with 1,915 and 1,860 points respectively. 

In the women’s all-around competition, Kimberly P. Williams from WWCC is sitting in first with 2,174.33 points, Karissa H. Rayhill of EWC is in second with 1,883.33 points and Kennedy M. Buckner of BLUE is in third with 1,858.33 points. 

Event activities 

The first performance will be on June 14 at 7 p.m. In addition to nightly performances, competitors and spectators will be able to attend a variety of activities. There will be a tradeshow with over 25 vendors, cowboy church services, slack performances, style show, a softball tournament, sporting clay shoot and a NIRA reunion. 

Tickets range from $10 for general admission to $28 for box seating and can be purchased by visiting

Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to 

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