Western cowboys, cowgirls eye CNFR

DILLON — The Bulldog rodeo teams completed the 2014-2015 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Big Sky Region schedule with team trophies, individual awards, and 10 invitations to the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR).

The men’s team claimed the Big Sky Region team championship by a margin of 536 points over second place Montana State University. Both teams will take a full contingent of athletes to the CNFR held June 14-20 in Casper, Wyo. The teams must be formed first from cowboys who finished in the top three of their event, earning an individual invitation to the CNFR, and then from individuals in the top 30 percent of contestants in their event.

Bulldog junior Phil Shields claimed the men’s all-around champion saddle while teammates junior Tyler Friend and senior Kane Cartwright finished third and fourth in the all-around rankings. To be considered in the all-around standings, athletes must have earned points in two or more events during the season.

Shields earned championship saddles in both the saddle bronc and bull riding events. Friend finished second in the saddle bronc event and fifth in the team roping header competition. Cartwright posted a second place finish in the steer wrestling, and a third among headers in team roping. Freshman Tristan Hansen also posted an impressive point total during the season with 690 points in saddle bronc, 130 in bull riding, and 319 in team roping, but narrowly missed a CNFR berth in his first season of collegiate competition.

Three other Bulldogs earned points in the saddle bronc competition throughout the year, junior Dakota Munns, junior Will Shirley, and senior Doug Hall. In the bareback even Hansen was joined in the point total by senior J2 Bridges and sophomore Carson Clements.

In addition to Cartwright and Friend, six Bulldog men collected points as headers in the team roping competition. Senior Ian Austiguy finished in fourth place in the event while seniors Nick Xeros, Parker Bignell, and Jesse Mediaris, sophomore Paul Peterson, and freshman Jake Worthen roped their way into the standings.

On the heeler side of the team roping, sophomore Holden Garrison finished in third place, just ahead of Hansen, seniors Newt Novich and Kolby Bignell, juniors Jade Gardner, Dane Andreasen and Colin Moore, sophomores Mike Vines, Shay Wacker, and freshman Tyrell Schofield collected points in the event.

Steer wrestling continued to be a strong area for the Bulldogs as Cartwright, Novich and Austiguy claimed the second through fourth spots. Senior Kolby Bignell, Bridges, Vines, Garrison and Worthen also earned points in the bulldogging.

In tie down roping Gardner qualified for the CNFR with a third place finish while Jesse Medearis, who was honored this week as the graduating male with the highest GPA, wound up in sixth. Garrison, Parker Bignell, and Worthen also scored in the tie down roping during the season.

The 2015 Montana Western CNFR team will consist of Shields in saddle bronc and bull riding, Friend in saddle bronc, Cartwright competing in both steer wrestling and team roping, Garrison heeling in the team roping, Novich in steer wrestling, Gardern participating in tie down roping, and Austiguy heading in the team roping event.

In the women’s team standings, Montana Western earned the second place trophy and a team invitation to the CNFR. Montana State dominated the team competition, building a nearly 2000-point advantage.

Five Bulldog women earned points in the goat tying event, led by sophomore Tess Turk who finished fifth and senior Justinn Marshall in seventh place. Junior Jade Gorrell, sophomore Charleyne Yeager and freshman Abigail Wilkerson also scored points in the goat tying.

Turk and Marshall also earned points as headers in the team roping competition.

In the barrel racing competition sophomore Connlee Gray placed eighth as was joined by junior Jamie Riley and senior Michelle Lucke in the standings.

In the breakaway event Turk claimed a fourth place finish, while Gorrell was seventh and Gray wound up in eighth. Wilkerson and Marshall also earned points to finish in the year-end top 20.

The Bulldog women competing at the CNFR will be Turk in both breakaway roping and goat tying, Marshall in goat tying and Gray competing in barrel racing.

— Montana Western Sports Information

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