ALVA, Okla. – Like any freshman, Mason Bowen has learned a lot in the first few months of his college career.
The Northwestern Oklahoma State University cowboy proved this past weekend that his rodeo education is paying off. He won the tie-down roping championship at the Southeastern Oklahoma State University rodeo in Durant.
“He’s young, and he ropes really well,” Northwestern rodeo coach Stockton Graves said of Bowen. “He finally got something to go for him, and it showed. I knew he’d do well.”
The Bullard, Texas, cowboy won the first round in Durant, then held off a talented group of ropers to claim the average championship. How tough was the competition? Bullard held less than a two-and-a-half-second advantage over fifth place.
“Mason needed a little confidence-booster, and he got it in Durant,” Graves said. “That was a pretty tough calf roping. He won the round and roped really smart in the short round. I’m real proud of him.”
He should be. Bowen is now tied for eighth in the Central Plains Region standings and is within reach of qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo.
Now the Rangers teams will finish the Central Plains Region season with a flourish of events: this coming weekend is the Southwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo in Weatherford, followed by the Fort Hays (Kan.) State University rodeo and Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s Doc Gardner Memorial Rodeo in Guymon, Okla.
“I’ve told the kids all along that about three good rodeos is all you need to make the college finals,” Graves said. “It’s not going to be easy, but it’s a little simpler than they think. Everybody wants to do good at every rodeo, but the likelihood of that happening is really slim. You just want to give yourself a chance, then capitalize on it.”
Bowen was joined in the championship round in Durant by steer wrestlers Stephen Culling of Fort St. John, British Columbia, (fourth) and Jimmy Hoke of Connellsville, Pa., (ninth); headers Micah Samples of Abilene, Kan., (tied for fourth) and Trey Young of Dupree, S.D., (eighth); heelers Layne Lagasse of Concordia, Kan., (third), Wade Wilson of Laverne, Okla.; (tied for fourth) and Chase Lako of Hunter, N.D. (eighth); and goat-tier Karley Kile of Topeka, Kan., (third).
“It was a little disappointing this weekend, but we’ve got three rodeos left to make up the ground we need to make,” Graves said.