12 Champions Crowned at College National Finals Rodeo

For Immediate Release:

CASPER, Wyo. (June 17, 2017) – From a pair of repeat titlists to a freshman phenom, 12 college athletes earned national championships Saturday night at the 69th annual College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in the Casper Events Center. 

Team ropers Cole Wheeler and Wesley Thorpe were the only repeat champions, winning their second straight title, but their first for Texas Tech University. Last year they represented Weatherford College (Wheeler) and Ranger College (Thorpe). They entered the championship round tied with a team from Gillette College for second overall. Both trailed the leaders from Sam Houston State University by one-tenth of a second. Neither of the other top contenders managed to rope their steer while Wheeler and Thorpe clocked a 5.5 to place second in the round.

A Sam Houston State University freshman from Victoria, Texas, Lane McGehee dominated the bareback riding. He won two of the three preliminary rounds and scored 79.5 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Spicy Chicken to place second in the championship round, a point behind Sheridan College’s Hunter Carlson. McGehee’s overall win was by an almost unheard-of 16 points.

McGehee wasn’t the only Sam Houston State athlete to win a national championship. Breakaway roper Loni Lester came from second overall to win the title when she clocked a time of 2.7 seconds in the championship round. That was good enough for second place in the round and gave her an overall time of 10.9 seconds. She won the championship by three-tenths of a second through four runs. Lester, a junior from Gonzales, Texas, was also named Women’s All-Around Champion.

In goat tying, only six-tenths of a second separated the top seven finalists with three of them tied for the lead. Championship round pressure didn’t seem to bother fifth-ranked Tawny Barry of Eastern New Mexico University. The junior from Carter, S.D., won the final round with a time of 6.4, which was enough to earn her the national title by two-tenths of a second.

The biggest jump to claim a national title came from bull rider Cole Melancon of Hill College. The Liberty, Texas, sophomore was ranked halfway down the top 12 at sixth after qualifying for the championship round. He had just one qualified ride in the first three rounds. Melancon put together an 85-point effort on MoBetta Rodeo’s Blindside to win the championship round and the national title by 4.5 points. No bull rider was able to make more than two qualified rides during this year’s CNFR.

Texas A & M University junior Hailey Kinsel and her mare DM Sissy Heyday that she calls “Sister” are earning a reputation as a tough duo to beat on in a multiple-round barrel race. Kinsel, who won more than $400,000 in the barrel racing at The American in February, used the same formula of consistency to come from fourth place and claim the college championship. The Cotulla, Texas, cowgirl did not win any of the first three rounds, but stopped the clock in 14.06 seconds to win the championship round and the national title.

Tie-down roper Reid Zapalac of Tarleton State University, saddle bronc rider Preston Burr of New Mexico Junior College and steer wrestler Denver Berry of Southeastern Oklahoma State University were the other three new champions who came into the finals with the lead and held on to win titles. Berry, a senior, did it by wrestling his steer in 3.9 seconds to tie for first in the championship round. Zapalac’s time of 8.8 placed second in the championship round and Burr’s score of 74 was enough to tie for fourth Saturday night.

The All-Around Cowboy title went to Cole Frey of McNeese State University who qualified for the final round in both team roping and steer wrestling. Panhandle State University won the men’s team championship and Sam Houston State University earned the women’s team title.

The College National Finals Rodeo features the top student-athletes in rodeo from the 11 regions of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association competing for national championships.

 

 

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2016 COLLEGE NATIONAL FINALS RODEO CHAMPIONS

 

Bareback – Lane McGehee, Sam Houston State University, 314 points

Tie-Down Roping – Reid Zapalac, Tarleton State University, 36.7 seconds

Breakaway Roping – Loni Lester, Sam Houston State University, 10.9 seconds

Saddle Bronc Riding – Preston Burr, New Mexico Junior College, 284 points

Steer Wrestling – Denver Berry, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, 19.8 seconds

Goat Tying – Tawny Barry, Eastern New Mexico University, 26.1 seconds

Team Roping – (header) Cole Wheeler & (heeler) Wesley Thorp, Texas Tech University, 25.2 seconds

Barrel Racing – Hailey Kinsel, Texas A & M University, 57.89

Bull Riding –Cole Melancon, Hill College, 161.5 points

Men’s All-Around – Cole Frey, McNeese State University, 243 points

Women’s All-Around – Loni Lester, Sam Houston State University, 340 points

Men’s Team – Panhandle State University, 827.5 points

Women’s Team – Sam Houston State University, 425 points

Men’s Rookie – Lane McGehee, Sam Houston State University, 350 points

Women’s Rookie – Rickie Engesser, Gillette College, 210 points

 

 

CASPER, Wyo.--The following are final results from the College National Finals Rodeo after the final performance June 17, 2017, courtesy of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Complete results are available at www.cnfr.com

 

            Bareback Riding: (fourth round winners) 1, Hunter Carlson, Sheridan College, 80.5 points. 2, Lane McGehee, Sam Houston State University, 79.5. 3, Chace Ames, Sheridan College, 78.5. 4, Kody Lamb, Tarleton State University, 78. (total on four) 1, Lane McGehee, Sam Houston State University, 314 points. 2, Tristan Hansen, University of Montana – Western, 298. 3, Kody Lamb, Tarleton State University, 293.5. 4, Cache Hill, University of Great Falls, 293. 5, Will Martin, Panhandle State University, 288. 7, Chance Ames, Sheridan College, 286.5. 8, (tie) Matt Borton, Missouri Valley College, and Braxten Nielsen, Weber State College, 281.5.

 

Breakaway Roping: (fourth round winners) 1, Cassie Bahe, College of Southern Idaho, 2.0 seconds. 2, Loni Lester, Sam Houston State University, 2.7. 3, Kayla Norcutt, Western Nevada College, 2.8. 4, Lakota Bird, Central Arizona College, 3.0. (total on four) 1, Loni Lester, Sam Houston State University, 10.9 seconds. 2, Hannah Springer, Southern Arkansas University, 11.2. 3, Kayla Norcutt, Western Nevada College, 12.8. 4, Teague Crane, Colorado Northwestern Community College, 13.0. 5, Lakota Bird, Central Arizona College, 21.6. 6, Kirbie Crouse, Missouri Valley College, 30.1.  (on three) 7, Cassie Bahe, College of Southern Idaho, 7.2. 8, Randi Buchanan, Panhandle State University, 8.9. 

 

Steer Wrestling: (fourth round winners) 1, (tie) Denver Berry, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and Reed Kreger, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, 3.9 seconds each. 3, Joby Allen, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, 4.6. 4, Bubba Boots, Northwest College, 4.9. (total on four) 1, Denver Berry, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, 19.8 seconds. 2, Reed Kraeger, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 22.2. 3, Cole Frey, McNeese State University, 22.3. 4, (tie) Fenton Nelsen, Missouri Valley College, and Joby Allen, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, 23.5. 6, Ben Kilburg, Missouri Valley College, 24.2. 7, Carson Johnston, Black Hills State University, 18.1. 8, Reed Kraeger, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, (tie) Bubba Boots, Northwest College and Carson Johnston, Black Hills Community College, 25.1.

  

            Team Roping: (fourth round winners) 1, Ross Mitchell, University of Tennessee – Martin, and Ethan Wheeler, East Mississippi Community College, 5.5 seconds. 2, Cole Wheeler and Wesley Thorpe, Texas Tech University, 5.9. 3, Bubba Boots and Matthew Williams, Northwest College, 7.1. 4, (total on four) 1, Cole Wheeler and Wesley Thorp, Texas Tech University, 25.2 seconds. 2, Ross Mitchell, University of Tennessee- Martin, and Ethan Wheeler, Eastern Mississippi Community College, 28.1. 3, Chase Onaka, California Polytechnic University – San Luis Obispo, and Brushton Minton West Hills College, 30.5. 4, Bubba Boots and Matthew Williams, Northwest College, 31.2. 5, Samantha Jorgensen, Black Hills Community College, and Chandler Comfort, Mid-Plains Community College, 37.7. 6, Ben Johnsrud and Nate Johnsrud, Panhandle State University, 39.7. 7, Cole Frey, McNeese State University, and Reid Halbert, Texas A & M University, 41.4. 8, Landon Heryford and Tim Messner, Oregon State University, 56.3.

 

Saddle Bronc Riding: (fourth round winners) 1, Brody Cress, Tarleton State University, 84 points. 2, Treyson Antonick, Sam Houston State University, 77.5. 3, Jake Finlay, Panhandle State University, 75. 4, (tie) Preston Burr, New Mexico Junior College and Tanner Butner, University of Montana – Western, 74. (total on four) 1, Preston Burr, New Mexico Junior College, 284.5. 2, Blaise Freeman, Western Texas College, 279. (on three) 3, Brody Cress, Tarleton State University, 237.5. 4, Jake Finlay, Panhandle State University, 228.5. 5, Treyson Antonick, Sam Houston State University, 226.5. 6, Tanner Butner, University of Montana – Western, 214.5. 7, Logan Cook, Panola Junior College, 210.5. 8, Will Centoni, Cuesta College, 209.

 

Goat Tying: (fourth round winners) 1, Tawny Barry, Eastern New Mexico University, 6.4 seconds. 2, Amelia Anderson, University of Wyoming, 6.5. 3, Carlee Johnson, Black Hills Community College, 6.8. 4, (tie) Rickie Engesser, Gillette College, and Kynzie McNeil, Texas Tech University. 7.1. (total on four) 1, Tawny Berry, Eastern New Mexico University, 26.1. 2, Amelia Anderson, University of Wyoming, 26.3. 3, Rickie Engesser, Gillette College, 26.5. 4, (tie) Makayla Boots, Idaho State University, and Carlee Johnston, Black Hills Community College, 26.8. 6, Kynzie McNeil, Texas Tech University, 27.3. 7 Celie Vick, Eastern New Mexico University, 23.7. 8, Hope Petry, South Dakota State University, 28.3. 

 

            Tie Down Roping: (fourth round winners) 1, John Douch, Hill College, 7.6 seconds. 2, Riley Wakefield, Gillette College, 8.2. 3, Reid Zapalac, Tarleton State University, 8.8 seconds. 4, Preston Pederson, Blue Mountain Community College, 9.2. ­(total on four) 1, Reid Zapalac, Tarleton State University, 36.7. 2, John Douch, Hill College, 40.6, 3, Andrew Burks, Pearl River Community College, 42.6.  4, Colton Farquer, Cal Poly State University – San Luis Obispo, 42.7. 5, Clayton Smith, Western Oklahoma State College, 43.3. 6, Riley Wakefield, Gillette College, 45.6. 7, Preston Pederson, Blue Mountain Community College, 48.7. 8, Bryce Bott, Casper College, 53.0. (on three) 9, Marcus Theriot, East Mississippi Community College, 29.2. 10, Cooper Mathews, Hill College, 30.7. 11, Bubba Boots, Northwest College, 32.5, Clayton Smith, Western Oklahoma State College, 33.7. 6, Andrew Burks, Pearl River Community College, 32.6. 7, Marcus Theriot, East Mississippi Community College, 29.2. 4, Cooper Mathews, Hill College, 30.7. 8, Clayton Smith, Western Oklahoma State College, 33.7.            

 

 Barrel Racing: (fourth round winners) 1, Hailey Kinsel, Texas A & M University, 14.06 seconds. 2, Abby Searcy, University of Arkansas – Monticello, 14.11. 3, Lake Mehalic, Colorado State University, 14.33. 4, NaLynn Cline, New Mexico State University, 14.44. (total on four) 1, Hailey Kinsel, Texas A & M University, 57.89 seconds. 2, Leia Pluemer, University of Nevada – Las Vegas, 57.92. 3, Kailee Webb, University of Wyoming, 57.95. 4, Abby Searcy, University of Arkansas – Monticello, 58.04. 5, Lake Mehalic, Colorado State University, 58.39. 6, Abby Knight, University of Great Falls, 58.41. 7, Kelsi Haller, Lake Land College, 58.58. 8, NaLynn Cline, New Mexico State University, 58.62.

 

Bull Riding: (fourth round winners – three rides) 1, Cole Melancon, Hill College, 85 points. 2. Cody Hudson, Walla Walla Community College, 76. 3, Chase Dougherty, Montana State University, 76.5. (total on two) 1, Cole Melancon, Hill College, 161.5. 2, Ruger Piva, University of Montana – Western, 157. 3, Chase Daugherty, Montana State University, 154. 3, (tie) Chase Daugherty, Montana State University, and Cody Ballard, Panhandle State University, 154. 5, Kolton White, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, 151.5.  6, Cody Hudson, Walla Walla Community College, 149.5. 7, Josh Frost, Panhandle State University, 138.5. (on one) 8, (tie) Dakota Rice, Chadron State College, and Blue Wilcox, Mesa Community College, 75.5.

 

Men’s All-Around: 1, Cole Frey, McNeese State University, 243 points. 3. 2, Bubba Boots, Northwest College, 190.8. 3, Marcus Theriot, East Mississippi Community College, 165. 4, Riley Wakefield, Gillette College, 135. 5, Brodi Jones, Weber State University, 70. 6, Colton Campbell, California State University – Fresno.

 

Women’s All-Around: 1, Loni Lester, Sam Houston State University, 245 points. 2, Samantha Jorgenson, Black Hills State University, 143.3. 3, KL Spratt, Sam Houston State University, 140. 4, Kynzie McNeil, Texas Tech University, 117.5. 5, Lauren Bane, Tarleton State University, 115. 6, Tess Turk, University of Montana – Western, 95. 67.5.

 

Men’s Team: 1, Panhandle State University, 827.5 points. 2, Sam Houston State University, 715. 3, Tarleton State University, 690. 4, Hill College, 620. 5, University of Montana – Western, 550. 6, Texas Tech University, 520. 7, East Mississippi Community College, 425. 8, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, 365.

 

Women’s Team: 1, Sam Houston State University, 485 points. 2, University of Wyoming, 355. 3, Eastern New Mexico University, 345. 4, University of Nevada – Las Vegas, 312.5. 5, Tarleton State University, 280.4, 6. Black Hills State University, 255.8. 7, (tie) Gillette College and Texas A & M University, 210.