Western rodeo team starts spring with strong showing

The University of Montana Western rodeo teams competed in two rodeos at Montana State University over the weekend. The men’s team brought home two team trophies and extended its lead in the Big Sky Region.

In the first rodeo, Montana Western claimed the men’s team championship by 50 points over Montana State. Teams are able to claim points for six men designated to the points team for each rodeo. Additionally, a number of Bulldogs earned off-team points, advancing their standing toward the individual qualifications for the College National Finals held in June.

The first event of the weekend featured two rounds of competition and the Bulldogs were well represented in the final standings. Freshman bareback rider Tristan Hansen finished second with 142 points on two qualified rides. Senior Jesse Medearis claimed points with a third place finish in the tie down roping, Senior Kane Cartwright and junior Mike Vines placed third and fourth in the steer wrestling. Juniors Phil Shields and Dakota Munns each earned points in the saddle bronc competition with first and third place finishes. In the team roping senior header Ian Austiguy and sophomore heeler Holden Garrison claimed the top spot with a total of 15.9 seconds on two runs.

Go round points were earned by junior J2 Bridges in bareback, seniors Newt Novich and Parker Bignell and freshman Jake Worthen in the steer wrestling. Junior Dane Andreasen earned points in the team roping and Garrison won points in the tie down event, placing him second in the men’s all-around competition for the first rodeo.

“Our men’s team continues to do a great job,” head coach Olie Else reflected. “Our rough stock competitors are being coached by two-time national champion and Montana Western Athletics Hall of Fame member Jake Hayworth, and they have really responded.”

In the women’s competition, sophomore Tess Turk earned the all-around title after earning points in both the goat tying and team roping events. Senior Justinn Marshall earned a third place finish in the goat tying while sophomore Connlee Gray and junior Jamie Riley each earned points in the barrel racing competition.

“I’m especially proud of Tess Turk for managing the Top of the West colt sale activities, in which she claimed the third highest selling price, with her rodeo competition this weekend,” Else said.

The second rodeo was a single go round with points awarded based on one run. The Montana Western Men’s team extended its lead in the region finishing 86 points ahead of the closest competitor, Northwest College.

Bridges placed fourth in the bareback competition, while Hansen earned points in both the bareback and team roping events. Junior Jade Gardner earned fourth place in the tie down roping, which moved him into first place in the Big Sky Region standings. The team roping duo of Austiguy and Garrison posted a 6.3 second run, which was good for second place. Junior Tyler Friend and senior Nick Xeros also earned points in the team roping event.

Novich and Worthen each collected points in the steer wrestling during the second rodeo. Junior Jade Gardner earned fourth place in the tie down roping, which moved him into first place in the Big Sky Region standings. Munns scored a 72-point saddle bronc ride to take the title and Shields finished fourth. Shields also scored the only qualified bull ride and earned the all-around title for the rodeo.

“Phil Shields has been an outstanding team leader and it was wonderful to watch him have such a great weekend,” Else said.

On the women’s side of the competition, Turk and Marshall each earned points in the goat tying. Marshall also claimed breakaway roping points.

The Bulldog rodeo teams will return to action at Dawson Community College on April 24-26.

— Montana Western Sports Information

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