ALVA, Okla. – The only way for Mason Bowen to stay the course he’s on is to continue winning points.
He made that happen this past weekend with a second-place finish in tie-down roping at the Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College rodeo. The Northwestern Oklahoma State University cowboy roped and tied two calves in a cumulative time of 18.1 seconds, just a 10th of a second behind the winner.
“I just need to keep knocking them down and keep getting points at every rodeo,” said Bowen, the No. 2 tie-down roper in the Central Plains Region standings from Bullard, Texas. “I’ve changed a lot of stuff mentally on winning, and that makes a difference.”
Through six of 10 regional rodeos this season, he has accrued 385 points but is just 20 points out of the lead. That’s important, because only the top three individuals in each event advance at the end of the regular season advance to the College National Finals Rodeo.
Having a strong mental approach came in handy at Fort Scott. He scored a 9.5-second run, just out of earning points in the first go-round. Then he stopped the clock in 8.6 seconds to win the championship round and move up to second in the average.
“I was a little longer than I thought” in the first round, Bowen said. “The calf didn’t really cooperate like I thought he would; he was a little stronger than the rest, but it worked out.”
His time earned him a spot in the finale, where he was matched with a better calf through the random draw.
“I had a really good one in the short round, and I took advantage of it,” he said.
The Rangers had several in the championship round with a foursome of steer wrestlers accumulating most of the team points. Cody Devers of Perryton, Texas, won the bulldogging title with a two-run cumulative time of 9.3 seconds – he also shared the short-round victory with a 4.6-second run. Colten Madison of Whiting, Iowa, finished third in 9.5 seconds, while Maverick Harper of Stephenville, Texas, was sixth with 11.3.
Reigning college champion steer wrestler J.D. Struxness of Appleton, Minn., won the opening round but finished out of the top six. Madison leads the bulldogging standings, and Devers is second.
A couple of team ropers – header Cole Patterson of Pratt, Kan., and heeler Allie O’Brien of Pineville, Mo. – earned points. Patterson, roping with Western Oklahoma State’s Clayton Smith, placed third overall by stopping the clock in a two-run cumulative time of 20.5 seconds. O’Brien, roping with Southwestern Oklahoma State’s KeAnn Kelberr, placed fourth in the short round.
Barrel racer Ashlyn Moeder of Oakley, Kan., finished second in her event. She was 12.17 to win the first round and 12.36 to finish third in the championship round to score 150 points in Fort Scott. Moeder is seventh in the region standings.
Katy Miller of Faith, S.D. led the Rangers in goat-tying with a second-place finish. She tied two goats in a combined 12.6 seconds. She was followed closely by Tearnee Nelson (third) of Faith and Jenny Massing (fourth) of Ponoka, Alberta. Miller sits third in the Central Plains, while Nelson is fifth.
Four rodeos remain in the region season, so points are important for all contestants. They know they need to perform well, but they also need to have good horses to get them there. That’s definitely the case for Bowen, who leans on his horse, Swamp.
“I’ve had him for two years,” Bowen said. “We didn’t really get along that good at first, but he’s come along the last couple of months and got to winning a little bit.”
Now they need it to continue.