Western rodeo team finds success in Cody

CODY, Wyo. — The University of Montana Western men’s and women’s rodeo teams found success in their first two college rodeo of the season. The Bulldogs competed in the Northwest College rodeo that took place over the weekend and did not disappoint with their performances.

In the first rodeo of the weekend, the Montana Western women started the season off with a bang by scoring 359 team points in route to a victory. The Bulldogs were led by CNFR veterans Tess Turk and Connlee Gray. Turk, a junior from Elko, Nevada, scored 145 team points by winning the goat tying event with a top time of 7.1 seconds. Gray, a junior from Liberty Lake, Washington, led the team with 214 team points spread throughout two events, barrel racing and breakaway roping. Gray finished in a tie for second in breakaway with a time of 3.5 seconds and placed third in the barrels with a time of 17.79 seconds.

The Montana Western men placed second to Montana State University in the first rodeo, scoring 485 points. The Bulldog men saw strong performances out of Tristan Hansen from Victor, Idaho, senior Phil Shields from Phillipsburg, and national champion wrestler Ruger Piva from Challis, Idaho.

Hansen took home second place with a score of 75 in the bareback competition, he also placed fourth with a score of 67 in bull riding. Hansen tallied 204.5 team points in the rodeo to lead Montana Western. Reigning Big Sky all-around champion Phil Shields had a ride of 73 in the saddle bronc, putting him in second place and adding 126 team points to the Bulldogs total. Jeret Angell, from St. Anthony, Idaho also placed in the saddle bronc with a qualifying ride of 67, good enough for third. Piva won the bull riding event with a score of 81, in his first ever rodeo for the University of Montana Western.

Tyler Friend, Holden Garrison and Jade Gardener also scored team points for the Bulldogs, Skeeter Steed and TyRell Schofeild placed fourth in the team roping with a time of 10.1 seconds.

The second rodeo of the weekend saw similar success for the Montana Western rodeo teams. The men finished in first place with 456.5 teams to edge out Montana State University who had 440 points, as the women placed second with 378 points, just behind Montana State University.

The men were led by a trio of saddle bronc riders, Cree Minkoff, Phil Shields and Tyler Friend, who finished second, third and fourth respectively. Hansen again scored a qualifying ride in the bareback, winning the event with a score of 72. Cyris Robertson a freshman from Whitehall, placed second in the tie down roping with a time of 10.5 seconds. Holden Garrison added to the Montana Western men’s team point total for the second straight rodeo by finishing third in steer wrestling with a time of 6.9 seconds.

On the women’s side, Darby Yaeger, a freshman from Choteau, won the breakaway roping with a time of 3.3 seconds. Fellow freshman Callie Wollenburg from Red Lodge, ran a blistering 17.35 seconds in barrel racing to win the event, just in front of teammate Connlee Gray who finished second with a time of 17.37 seconds. Tess Turk again scored team points in goat tying with a time of 7.1 seconds.

On the season, both the men’s and women’s teams are sitting in the second position in the Big Sky Region. Both are hot on the tails on Montana State University. Bulldog rodeo takes to the arena again on Sept. 24-25 in Glendive for the Dawson Community College rodeo.

“I am extremely proud of both teams and we are where we need to be at the start of the season,” head coach Olie Else said.

For all season stats and rankings check out the NIRA site.

— Montana Western Sports Information

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