RODEO INSIDER: SHSU men's and women's rodeo teams leave their mark at CNFR

Both Sam Houston State’s men’s and women’s teams commanded lots of respect throughout last week’s College National Finals Rodeo.

In Casper, Wyoming, Sam Houston’s women clinched the team title at the 2017 CNFR, which was June 11-17.

Sam Houston State’s women finished No. 1 after earning 485 points. Wyoming finished second with 355.

SHSU thrived on the outstanding performances of Loni Lester of who clinched both the women’s all-around buckle and the breakaway roping titles. SHSU also benefitted from have K.L. Spratt in the lineup. She finished third in the women’s all-around race.

Sam Houston also finished second in the men’s team title race behind No. 1 finisher Oklahoma Panhandle State. SHSU received great help from Lane McGehee who earned both the bareback riding and men’s rookie titles at the CNFR.

In the barrel racing title race at the 2017 College National Finals, Hailey Kinsel of Texas A&M clinched the title. Earlier this year, Kinsel commanded respect when she snared the barrel racing title at the RFD-TVs The American while competing against the world’s top professional riders. She earned $433,333 during the Feb. 19 show at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Oklahoma Panhandle State clinched the men’s team title at last weekend’s CNFR. Sam Houston State men’s team finished second.

In team roping title race at the 2017 CNFR, Texas Tech’s Cole Wheeler and Wesley Thorp clinched a second consecutive title. Thorp also thrives on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit. Last year, Thorp also qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas for the first time.

Cole Frey of McNeese State finished as the men’s all-around champion at the 2017 CNFR. Rickie Engesser of Gillette College clinched the women’s rookie title. 

Other champions were tie-down roper Reid Zapalac, Tarleton State; saddle bronc rider Preston Burr, New Mexico Junior College; steer wrestler Denver Berry, Southeastern Oklahoma State; goat tyer Tawny Barry, Eastern New Mexico; and bull rider Cole Melancon, Hill College.


PBR update

On the Professional Bull Riders’ circuit, some of the sport’s top riders were in Bismarck, North Dakota, during the past weekend.

During the June 16 performance, Derek Kolbaba of Walla Walla, Washington, earned the buckle after turning in an 89.5 during the final round on BC Circular Insanity Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/ H&C Bucking Bulls). It was Kolbaba’s second PBR victory in a row after winning the PBR Monster Energy Canada Tour International Major in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, on June 2.

Kolbaba, the world’s No. 3 ranked bull rider, also finished second overall during the June 17 performance. He turned in a 89.5 in the first round on Beast of Burden (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/H&C Bucking Bulls), but he was bucked off in the final round. Brennon Eldred of Sulphur, Oklahoma, clinched the title after turning in a 91 during the final round on Cooper Tires Brown Sugar (Dakota Rodeo/Julie Rosen/Clay Struve/Chad Berger).

The Bismarck show was part of the PBR’s 2017 Velocity Tour.


Bob Feist winners

Former National Finals team roping qualifiers Luke Brown, who is from Morgan Mill in North Central Texas, and Jake Long of Coffeyville, Kansas, each earned $60,000 after winning the 40th Bob Feist Invitational on Monday in Reno, Nevada. The Feist event is held in conjunction with this week’s Reno Rodeo, which traditionally is the PRCA’s first major summer rodeo.


In the money

Bill Tutor of Huntsville, who is attempting to earn his first trip to the Las Vegas-based National Finals, came a step closer last weekend by finishing fifth in bareback riding at the traditional Buffalo Bill Rodeo in North Platte, Nebraska, after turning in a score of 82.5. Tutor is ranked fifth in this week’s PRCA bareback riding world standings with $57,845 in regular season earnings.

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Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram over the past quarter-century. Email him at [email protected]

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