Rangers wrap season at CNFR

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ALVA, Okla. – Success as an athlete doesn’t always translate into the victories all dream about.

 For Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s contingent of five contestants competing at the College National Finals Rodeo last week, there was some great success but only a trio came away with the actual awards.

All-around cowboy Jacob Haren of Callaway, Nebraska, had the highest honor, finishing fourth in the nation in steer wrestling after placing in two of four go-rounds, and Trisyn Kalawaia of Waiakea, Hawaii, won the second round of bulldogging and placed in another. Cam Fox, a steer wrestler from Tulsa, finished sixth in both the first and third rounds.

“We got two of us in the short round, but I think we bulldogged good all week,” said Kalawaia, who was also joined in Casper, Wyoming, by steer wrestler Emmett Edler of State Center, Iowa, and breakaway roper Lauren Hopkins of Lipan, Texas. “Jacob had some luck in the short round, and I didn’t.”

No, he didn’t, but that’s what happens in competition. Kalawaia was among the leaders heading into Saturday’s championship round but was saddled with a no-time in the finale to fall to 12th overall. Haren finished in a tie for fifth in the final round, which bumped him up the standings.

“The college finals went really good for me,” said Haren, who finished his senior year with a trip to the finale but is considering his options as a graduate assistant coach starting in the fall, which would allow him another year of eligibility. “The bulldogging steers were outstanding. Being able to ride Trisyn’s horse helped a lot. She’s really good, and having him hazing for me, it ended up working out. I drew some really good steers and took advantage of it.”

Kalawaia’s horse, Rumor, is a 14-year-old brown mare that was named the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year. When Haren rode, Kalawaia was his hazer; when Kalawaia rodeo, Edler hazed.

While Haren and Kalawaia led the way for the men’s team, Fox scored some necessary points for the Rangers, who finished 16th overall. That’s saying something, considering that 54 colleges scored some points in Casper. While it wasn’t the finish any wanted out of this year’s championship, every run offers an opportunity to learn, whether it’s a round-winner or a no-time.

“The thing I learned the most from this college finals was from my own failure,” Kalawaia said. “I knew I needed to be more aggressive and just capitalize right there, but it’s one of those deals that can happen. I just know that the next time I’m in that situation, I need to be dialed in a little bit more and not let the little mistakes affect me.”

That’s important, because the Hawaiian cowboy has a bright future ahead of him. He is 24th in the ProRodeo steer wrestling standings and has a good chance to build on his season. He will be traveling in a buddy group that consists of Darcy Kersch, Marc Joiner, Travis Munro and National Finals Rodeo qualifiers Tristan Martin and Cody Devers, the last of whom is a Northwestern alumnus.

They are embarking on an aggressive path they all hope ends with them being at the NFR this coming December in Las Vegas. The lessons he gained at his last college finals could be the motivating factor in what happens over the next few months.

“The last couple of years at Alva have been awesome,” said Kalawaia, who transferred to Northwestern from Central Arizona College. “I definitely wouldn’t be in the position I am today if I hadn’t come to Northwestern. If you want to bulldog and get better at it, there’s no other place you want to be.

“It’s changed my life by giving me the opportunity to work with the guys I’ve worked with and learn more about what I want to do. It set me up now to ProRodeo.”


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