ALVA, Okla. – The Northwestern Oklahoma State University women’s rodeo team has inched closer to a major goal for this season.
With a dominating performance this past weekend, the Rangers are well within reach of clinching the Central Plains Region title. Northwestern posted 355 points to win the Southwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo title and push its lead in the circuit standings to more than 700 points with just two events remaining on the 2014-15 season.
“I was proud of everybody,” said Stockton Graves, the Rangers coach. “We competed well. The women did well. The men actually did well, even though it didn’t show up in the points.”
Senior Karley Kile of Overbrook, Kan., led the way with Northwestern, winning both the all-around and breakaway roping titles in Weatherford. But she wasn’t alone. In fact, Shayna Miller of Faith, S.D., was second in the all-around and, like Kile, qualified for the championship round in breakaway roping and goat tying.
Kile is third in the region in breakaway and is tied for eighth in goat tying. She has a chance to move to the top of the standings in the all-around heading into the Fort Hays (Kan.) State University rodeo this coming weekend and the Oklahoma Panhandle State University Doc Gardner Memorial rodeo the final weekend of April.
“This really doesn’t change anything,” said Kyle, a two-time goat-tying qualifier for the College National Finals Rodeo. “I’m still going to go for every rodeo.
“It’s pretty exciting, since I’ve never done any good in the breakaway.”
Miller leads the region standings in goat tying, followed by teammate Lauren Barnes of Buckeye, Ariz. In Weatherford, the Rangers women held eight spots in the short go-round: four in breakaway and two each in goat tying and barrel racing. In addition to Kile winning the breakaway title, Elli Price of Leady, Okla., finished in a three-way tie for third place in the average. They were joined in the final round by Sage Allen of Pawhuska, Okla.
Kile won the opening round with a 2.7-second run, then finished second in the short round with a 3.4. Her 6.1-second cumulative time on two runs was four-tenths of a second better than the field. Miller, meanwhile, placed second in the goat-tying aggregate with a two-run time of 16.2 seconds.
“It was just a matter of time,” Graves said of Kile’s top finish. “We needed her to do well, and I was plenty excited for her.”
In barrel racing, Kelsey Cloud of Elk City, Okla., finished third with a two-run time of 35.33 seconds, while Sara Bynum of Beggs, Okla., also made the final round. Every move helped pave the way for the team to return to the college finals, set for June 14-20 in Casper, Wyo.
“Shayna has obviously helped a lot, and Lauren has (too),” Kile said. “All the rest of the girls have stepped up their game this year. If we can take a team out there, it definitely helps out the school at the college finals.”
The Northwestern men finished fifth at Southwestern but had seven cowboys qualify for the short round – five were in team roping, led by senior heeler Dustin Searcy of Mooreland, Okla., who won both rounds and the average while roping with header Hunter Munsell of Western Oklahoma State College.
“I’ve known (Hunter) since I was a little kid,” Searcy said. “We practiced a lot when we were kids. “We’ve always had a natural partnership where we roped good together and have always had a lot of success.”
Searcy was joined in the short round by Northwestern teammates Jonathan Nixon of Paradise, Texas and Grayson Allred of Kanarraville, Utah,who together finished fifth in the average, and Mike McGinn of Haines, Ore., and Stephen Culling of Fort St. John, British Columbia. Tie-down roper Maverick Harper finished sixth with a two-run cumulative time of 21.0 seconds, while Allred finished fifth in steer wrestling with a two-run time of 15.2.
The Northwestern men sit fifth in the team standings but have several cowboys who are in position to qualify for the college finals by the time the season concludes in a week and a half.
“We’ll just keep them focused on their goals and the plan, and hopefully we’ll succeed,” Graves said.