ALVA, Okla. – Sometimes things just go the right way.
That happened for the Northwestern Oklahoma State University sister-brother tandem of Tearnee and Wylee Nelson, who scored a second-place finish in team roping this past weekend at the Kansas State University rodeo in Manhattan, Kan.
The Nelsons won the first round with a 6.5-second run and overcame an obstacle in the process.
“I really didn’t know what was going on until I watched the video,” Wylee Nelson said. “It turns out that Tearnee’s horse was bucking.”
That didn’t deter the header, who turned the steer well enough for him to rope two legs.
“It wasn’t good, but it was smooth,” Tearnee Nelson said about a run with no penalties. “Our horses are fresh. I hadn’t roped since (early January). Our second run was better. I had a lot more confidence.”
As the last team to go, the siblings knew they needed to be smart in the short round. They watched several teams struggle, including several that failed to record a time.
“We knew we just needed to go knock one down, and we’d be alright.”
It worked. When Wylee caught just one leg, the five-second penalty meant the run was 11.9 seconds. They finished second in the round and average. It’s a solid start to the spring segment of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association season.
“On the second run, I probably should have tracked over the steer a little more and made sure I caught two feet,” he said. “I’ve been roping quite a bit at home. We went to Denver and a couple of ProRodeos this winter and stayed sharp.”
Now they need to keep that momentum rolling along the right track. The Central Plains Region is only halfway done at this point, and the contestants are all vying to finish among the top three in their respective events to qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo.
The Nelsons weren’t the only members of the Northwestern rodeo team to finish strong in Manhattan. Another Rangers tandem, Kass Bittle and Edgar Fierro, finished third in the opening round and sixth overall.
All-around cowboy Maverick Harper made two solid runs to finish second in steer wrestling to lead a solid group there. In all, five Rangers earned points, with Grayson Allred (fourth) and Colten Madison (sixth) placing in the average. Riley Westhaver won the first round with a 4.7-second run, while Talon Roseland finished third in the round.
Allred added points in tie-down roping. He placed in both rounds and finished fourth in the average. Taylor Donaldson finished sixth overall, while Mason Bowen won the first round.
The Northwestern women placed third at K-State, and the men tied for third. In the women’s race, Katie Miller contributed solidly. Miller placed in both rounds of goat tying and placed in a tie for third in the average. Melissa Courture placed in a tie for fourth in the opening round.
Ashlyn Moeder led the Northwestern barrel racers by placing in both rounds and finishing third in the average. Sara Bynum placed in a tie for fourth.
Still, Tearnee Nelson led the way for the Rangers women, and it was nice to do it with her brother.
“We’ve roped together since we were freshmen (in high school),” said Tearnee Nelson, who has been roping since she was about 10 years old. “I knew we had no points (in the standings), so we just needed to go make our run. It’s the same in all my events, so I really had nothing to lose.”