Northwestern sending men's, women's teams to compete at College National Finals Rodeo

June 6, 2018

If success is measured in depth of talent, the Northwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo teams have it.

Through the rigors of the 2017-18 Central Plains Region season, both Ranger teams finished second overall and have earned the right to take full teams to the College National Finals Rodeo, set for June 10-16 in Casper, Wyoming.

"It's a big accomplishment for us," coach Stockton Graves said. "That was one of our goals at the beginning of the year, and we accomplished that. It's a step in the right direction. It's a good season for both the men and the women."

The 10-event campaign came to an end April 26 at the Oklahoma Panhandle State University rodeo in Guymon, and Northwestern put a nice bow on a season package. There were five region titlists and four other contestants who finished second.

The biggest praise coming out of the Panhandle State event was Jenny Massing of Ponoka, Alberta, Canada, who clinched the region's all-around title after winning goat-tying and placing in barrel racing. She ended the season No. 2 in the goat-tying standings but had an insurmountable lead in the all-around after securing enough points in barrel racing.

"It was really cool that I could finish out my senior year at Northwestern by winning the biggest award you can win," said Massing, who was awarded her first championship saddle after the OPSU rodeo. "What really changed my senior year was the mentality. Believing in myself and my confidence really changed."

She also had a hand in her success. Just before the season began last fall, she acquired a solid barrel racing horse, a mare she calls Playa.

"That was really the driving force in barrel racing," she said. "We just automatically clicked. I didn't have her three months, and we went to winning, which is unusual. In goat-tying, I finally convinced myself that I could win. I practiced my butt off. I knew my horse (Cooper) would always be faithful and run the same every time."

Horsepower is key in rodeo, and Massing has it. Now she will have both horses with her as she battles for the coveted titles that are available at the college finals. The women will field a full team of four ladies, and they will compete in five events. The men will feature six cowboys competing in seven events. That's a huge drawing card for the Rangers as they chase the elusive team titles.

"By having 10 going (to the CNFR), it ups our chances of scoring points, and that's always a plus," Graves said. "That's a good deal."

Besides Massing, the Ranger women’s team will feature Sara Bynum, Beggs senior, who won the region's barrel racing, and Taylor Munsell, Arnett junior, who had a second-place finish in breakaway roping. The men were led by the team-roping tandem of Maverick Harper, Stephenville, Texas, junior, and Tanner Nall, Colcord sophomore, who won the region. Steer wrestler Talon Roseland, Marshalltown, Iowa, senior, won the regional crown, while Cody Devers, Perryton, Texas, senior, was the reserve champ.

Others competing at the CNFR for Northwestern include Brandi Hollenbeck, Hutchinson, Kansas, senior, in breakaway roping, Ethan Price, Leedey freshman, in tie down roping, and Bridger Anderson, Carrington, North Dakota, freshman, in steer wrestling.

"I was very proud of them," Graves said. "On the men's side, we had competitive teams before, but they fell off in the mid-spring, and we would always get passed up. I told the guys this year there wasn't room for a lot of error; we can't have a bad rodeo, and we didn't. Midway through, we were actually winning the region.

"I thought they fought hard and tried hard. A lot of kids accomplished a lot of goals this year."


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