Clarendon duo win big at CNFR

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CLARENDON, Texas – They almost pulled it off.

Two Clarendon College cowboys put on a whale of a show during last week’s College National Finals Rodeo and left their mark on everyone in Casper, Wyoming. They came up just a few points short of claiming the men’s team title, but they’re pretty excited about being the runners-up.

“I think it shows what Clarendon College is all about,” said Weston Timberman, a sophomore from Columbus, Montana, who won his second straight bareback riding crown. “It’s a no-joke school. If you go to Clarendon, you go there to ride bucking animals, and I think we’ve proven that time and time again.

“It shows how dominant we can be coming out of Clarendon. If we had six guys at the college finals, we would be unstoppable.”

The numbers prove his point. He was joined in Casper by Wacey Schalla, a freshman from Arapaho, Oklahoma, who qualified for the finale in both bareback riding and bull riding. Schalla finished as the titlist in both bull riding and the all-around, earning a spot in Saturday’s championship round in both events.

Early on, nobody was in more control. He won each of the first three rounds of bull riding and shared the first-round victory in bareback riding with Timberman and Bradlee Miller of Sam Houston (Texas) State University.

“The college finals went really good, and it will dang sure be a good head start heading into the summer,” Schalla said. “Weston Timberman and I cleaned house as much as we could.”

That they did. In addition to sharing the opening-round victory, Timberman won the second round and finished second in the third. He tied for fourth in the final round to claim the aggregate championship. Schalla finished 11th in the second and third rounds of bareback riding, then joined Timberman in that tie for fourth in the short round to finish sixth in the aggregate. Though he didn’t cover his bull on the final night, he won the aggregate with 247.5 points on three rides, just one point ahead of Zeke Martinez of Wharton County (Texas) Junior College.

“The all-around was a pretty big deal to me,” Schalla said. “That’s my goal next year in the PRCA … to win the all-around. To win the college finals’ all-around is a big help.

“I love the bull riding, because that’s what I’ve been doing since I was young. I just started riding bareback horses at the end of my sophomore year in high school. Now, it’s a big priority to win the all-around, because I enjoy doing them both.”

It was almost as if Timberman and Schalla worked in unison to build something special over the seven-day championship.

“It was awesome,” Timberman said. “We came in there as a two-man team, and between the two of us ended up winning six rounds, two event national titles, the all-around title and a bunch of awards and saddles. It was a pretty cool thing to be part of, and we showed up when it mattered.”

The duo added three more national championships to an already stellar program, which won team titles in 2021 and 2023. Combined, the Clarendon men have accumulated 10 titles since Bret Franks became coach in 2015. Saddle bronc rider Wyatt Casper was the first in 2016, followed by Riggin Smith in 2019. Cole Franks won both the bareback riding and all-around crowns in 2021.

Each titlist already has a billboard in Clarendon that sings the praises of their accomplishments. Timberman’s will probably have to be redone, but Schalla will have his likeness and pair of championships listed for all to see when they make it to the community in the Texas Panhandle.

“Where I’m from is only two hours from Clarendon,” he said. “When I was 15 years old, I was getting on saddle bronc horses, so I’d go over there every week and practice with Bret. I knew I wanted to go there because of the practice facility and the opportunity that gives guys.

“Bret is a great coach, and he’s going to help you out as much as he can.”

Bret Franks rode broncs for a living and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo three times before he got into coaching. His first stop was at his alma mater at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, where he led the men to two national titles in 1997-98. His approach has worked for more than 25 years.

“Bret has been there and done that, so if I have any questions with entering or anything else, I can trust him enough to help me out,” Schalla said.

With Schalla and Timberman controlling the message, Clarendon College came close to pulling off the improbable win. The Bulldogs finished with 820 points, just 75 points shy of the champion, Tarleton State University of Stephenville, Texas.

“We went into the short round leading it by a little bit,” Timberman said. “We had just me and Wacey in the short round, and Tarleton had five guys in the short round. We didn’t quite get it pulled off like we’d hoped, but I think it was still cool to prove a point with two guys.”

Yes, it was.


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