ALVA, Okla. – There’s something in the water in Faith, S.D.
There is a boatload of rodeo talent that originates in the tiny western South Dakota town, and much of it seems to find its way to Northwestern Oklahoma State University. The proof has been there for years, but it received a powerful explanation point this past weekend at the Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College rodeo.
“We just migrate down here,” junior Tearnee Nelson said with a laugh. “It’s just the thing to do.”
Several Northwestern cowgirls from Faith made their way to the championship round in Fort Scott, including three goat-tiers: Nelson, Shayna Miller and Katy Miller. They were joined by Laremie Allred of Kanarraville, Utah, and all four cowgirls collected points.
When the dust cleared, Nelson earned the Fort Scott title, tying down two goats in a cumulative time of 14.6 seconds; she was just two-tenths of a second better than Shayna Miller, who finished second. Katie Miller, who finished second in the long round, and Allred, who placed sixth in the opening round, were a little slower than necessary on their second runs and failed to place overall.
“We’ve been competing against each other for a long time,” Nelson said. “It’s cool to have three Faith girls in the short round.”
Nelson also qualified for the short round in breakaway roping with a 3.0-second run to kick start her weekend in a six-way tie for third place in the first round. She was saddled with a no-time in the final round.
“The short-go didn’t go quite as well as I wanted it to,” she said.
The Northwestern women won the team title, earning 280 points in the process; they were 40 points better than the runner-up, Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The Rangers women sit second in the Central Plains Region’s team standings behind leader Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
“At Manhattan (two weekends before), we ended up third,” said Nelson, who credited coach Stockton Graves with providing the needed motivation for success in Fort Scott. “Stockton let us know that we needed to step up. We got our game-face on and wanted to win. We have a lot of talented girls on our team, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t be placing first or second at every rodeo.”
Sarah Bynum of Beggs, Okla., placed second in barrel racing to add points to the Rangers women, while breakaway roper Cheyenne Jones of Tioga, Pa., finished third.
The Northwestern men were led by a powerful contingent, which included several cowboys who had qualified for the championship round in steer wrestling. That included Maverick Harper of Stephenville, Texas, who won the all-around, also earning points in team roping, where he and partner Noel Hernandez of Pratt (Kan.) Community College finished second.
The Rangers band of steer wrestlers included four who placed in the two-run aggregate. Brock White of Earlville, Iowa, finished second in the short round and second overall, while Laine Herl of Goodland, Kan., and Joby Allen of Alva, Okla., finished in a tie for third. Harper placed fourth. J.D. Struxness of Appleton, Minn., won the first round but failed to score a time in the short round. He also qualified for the final round in tie-down roping.
While the Northwestern women sit No. 2 in the Central Plains standings, the men are third. The teams have four events remaining on the schedule to secure their spots at the College National Finals Rodeo, which takes the top two teams and the top three competitors in each event during its run, scheduled for mid-June in Casper, Wyo.
“I just need to go out there and make my run, then let it play out the way it’s supposed to,” Nelson said, saying she leans heavily on her primary goat-tying mount, Hiko, a 12-year-old gray gelding. “My horse is really solid. If something happens, it’s my fault not his. He gives me an opportunity to win every rodeo.”