CASPER, Wyo. (June 13, 2021) — Susan Kanode – After two years of ups and downs, the 72nd edition of the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) got off to a rousing start at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.
Last year’s events were cancelled due to the pandemic and this year contestants, fans, coaches, the state of Wyoming and Casper community are all excited to be celebrating college rodeo again. The competition started off with the Bulls Broncs and Breakaway Sunday afternoon which saw the first round complete in four events.
The first round of bareback riding featured some of the best that the CNFR has ever seen. Cole Franks from Clarendon (Texas) College won his signature event with a score of 83.5 points. Franks is also in the top 20 in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and won the Southwest Region of the National Intercollegiate Association. He is making a bid for the all-around here competing in the saddle bronc riding as well where he got 73.5 points to finish in the 11th spot.
Franks is the son of Bret Franks who qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in saddle bronc riding. Franks has been coaching at Clarendon College and has had two national saddle bronc riding champions to his credit. Wyatt Casper won the CNFR in 2016 and Riggin Smith was the 2019 champion and helped their men’s team finish in third place.
There were only six points separating the top eight in the bareback riding and among those was champion Lane McGeHee from Sam Houston State University who won the title here in 2016 as a freshman. McGeHee tied with Ty Pope from Missouri Valley College for the fourth spot with 80 points each.
The popularity of breakaway roping has always been high here, but with the addition of the event at pro rodeos across the country competition is getting tougher. A time under two seconds got the top spot on Sunday. Winter Williams from Southwestern Oklahoma State University stopped the clock in 1.9 seconds for the win.
Williams just earned her degree in allied health sciences and is also competing in the barrel racing here. She will have her first run in that event on Monday morning during slack and will be in contention for a women’s all-around title.
Another degree earning senior got the win in the saddle bronc riding and while he calls Craig, Colorado home, he is a Wyoming Cowboy. Garrett Uptain, who got his bachelor’s degree in ag business from the University of Wyoming scored 79.5 points to edge out Clarendon College’s Weston Patterson and Western Texas College’s Dylan Schofield who each had 79 points for second place.
The 2018 National High School Rodeo Association champion bull rider Cole Skender was the most successful contestant here in the first round. Skender, who won his high school title for his home state of Arkansas now attends Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. He was one of seven successful riders on Sunday and earned the top spot with a 84.5-point ride.
Competition at the 2021 CNFR continues with slack on Monday, June 14 beginning at 7 a.m. The first round of barrel racing, goat tying, steer wrestling, tie-down roping and team roping will be completed then. The bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding and breakaway roping will be in the second round.
The following are results from Bulls Broncs and Breakaway at the College National Finals Rodeo, June 13, 2021, courtesy of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Complete results are available at www.collegerodeo.com.
Breakaway Roping: (first-round winners) 1, Winter Williams, Southwest Oklahoma State University, 1.9 seconds. 2, (tie) Grace Felton, Lassen College, and Zoie Bedke, Idaho State University, 2.1. 4, Harley Lynn, Southern Arkansas University, 2.2. 5, Abbie Shofner, New Mexico State University, 2.3. 6, Alli Masters, Northeastern Oklahoma State University, 2.5, 7, Courney Peters, Black Hills State University, 2.7. 8, (tie) Tanegai Zilverberg, Mitchell Technical Institute; and Jade Boote, Dickinson State University, and Catherine Clayton, Cochise, College, 2.8 seconds.
Bareback Riding: (first round winners) 1, Cole Franks, Clarendon College, 83.5 points. 2, Jacob Lees, Western Texas College, 83. 3, Waylon Bourgeois, McNeese State University, 81.5. 4, Lane McGehee, Sam Houston State University, and Ty Pope, Missouri Valley College, 80 points each. 6, Dean Thompson, Western Texas College, 79.5. 7, Kolt Dement, Panola Junior College, 79. 8, Nick Pelke, Missouri Valley College, 77.5.
Saddle Bronc Riding: (first round winners) 1, Garrett Uptain, University of Wyoming, 79.5 points. 2, Weston Patterson, Clarendon College, and Dylan Schofield, Western Texas College, 79 points each. 4, Jake Barnes, Tarleton State University, 77.5. 6, (tie) Cash Wilson, Clarendon College and Cash Wilson, College of Southern Idaho, 76 points each. 8, Quinten Taylor, Casper College, 75.
Bull Riding: (first round winners) 1, (tie) Cole Skender, Three Rivers College, 84.5 points. 2, Quinten Taylor, Casper, College, 79.4. 3, Cullen Telfer, Tarleton State University, 78. 4, Hunter Tate, Coffeyville Community College, 77. 5, Trey Holston, Fort Scott Community College, 73.5. 5, Chris Villanueva, Sam Houston State University, 73. 7, Holden Moss, Three Rivers College, 69.5.