**For Immediate Release**
Rodeo Team Completes Perfect Season
Men’s and Women’s teams both qualify for Finals
- released by OPSU Campus Communications 05-01-2008
By Laura Hays
Goodwell, Okla. -- A triple-double in basketball, an albatross in golf, a windless day in the Oklahoma Panhandle . . . all possible, all uncommon. Add a perfect 10-0 rodeo season to that list and remember the 2007-2008 OPSU men’s rodeo team. After the dust settled in the arena Saturday night at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, the OPSU men won first place in the highly competitive Central Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. The men’s team placed first at every rodeo over the exhilarating season and secured their spot at the College National Finals Rodeo to be held in Casper, Wyo. this June.
Last week, Coach Craig Latham said, “The women are like a firecracker with a lit fuse. You know it’s going to go off, you’re just not sure when.” Fans held their breath as the OPSU women’s team had fallen to third place in the region before the Southeastern rodeo. Only the two first place finishers get to showcase their skills in Casper as a team, and the OPSU cowgirls proved their resolve this weekend. After region-wide results were tallied, the women edged into second place, locking up a team spot at CNFR. For the second consecutive year, OPSU will be represented by both a men’s and a women’s team at the Rose Bowl of rodeo.
While it’s been a team effort all the way, standout Trell Etbauer qualified for CNFR in saddle bronc riding, calf roping, and steer wrestling as well as a shot at the All-Around title. He walked off with first place in the roping and steer wrestling and second in the saddle bronc.
So who IS the number one cowboy in the region in saddle bronc? Seth Schafer acquired enough points during the season to claim the number one spot, even though he did not compete at Durant due to a knee injury. Latham explained, “Seth saw a doctor about the injury and plans to be 100% by the time CNFR rolls around.” In fact, the top six regional spots in the saddle bronc belong to OPSU cowboys, and the top three definitely moving on the national finals include Schafer, Etbauer, and Tyrel Larsen. OPSU also has the number one bareback rider in the region - Karlon Knudson.
Jordan Muncy qualified in goat tying, winning the region and will also compete for the All-Around title. Because she did not qualify in any of the other events, she will also represent the team either in barrel racing or in breakaway roping to try to win the All-Around title.
The men’s team will be comprised of six members and the women’s team of four. The two men and three women to round out those teams are qualified by being in the top 30% of the points they earned during the season. Latham will have to do some math before naming the remaining team members.
No team or contestant enters the CNFR with an advantage. Team and individual points are all wiped clean and collegiate contestants from the U.S.A. and Canada compete head-to-head to take home the North American titles. This year’s CNFR is set for June 15-21, and OPSU results will be available the next day following the end of each of the three rounds. Action begins Sunday, June 15 with performances at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the first round of bareback, saddle bronc, and bull riding as well as breakaway roping. Monday’s slack features round one of barrel racing, tie-down roping, and steer wrestling and begins the second round of bareback, saddle bronc, and bull riding and the breakaway roping. Tuesday’s slack finishes all of round two. The third round begins with the performance Tuesday night and continues Wednesday and Thursday and wraps up Friday night when the championship winners are announced. Saturday night is the exciting championship round and brings back all of the top hands for a final showdown to crown champions in each event as well as the All-Around titles and winning men’s and women’s teams.
Just because the regular season is over, there’s no time to rest for the members of the team. In addition to preparing for finals and seniors Etbauer and Knudson getting ready for commencement, the student athletes also provide plenty of volunteer help during the upcoming Pioneer Days Rodeo weekend as well as competing in the event.
OPSU saddle bronc riders will be following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, OPSU’s Taos Muncy, who went on to Wrangler National Finals Rodeo last December. Muncy joins an elite group of only two other cowboys who earned a collegiate title and a world title in the same year. Sister Jordan, only a freshman, makes her CNFR debut this year.
Congratulations to all of the team members and Coach Latham for the thrilling 2007-2008 regular season and we look forward to plenty of excitement at CNFR in June.