Rodeo always is going to have its ups and downs.
Brushton Minton found that out first-hand Monday at the College National Finals Rodeo.
The West Hills College sophomore started his day at the top, winning the first go-round of the tie-down roping at the Casper Events Center with an 8.8-second run.
“I just had to get a good start and then hope the calf didn’t kick,” he said. “Hopefully the second run will be even better.”
He returned to the arena about an hour later to compete in steer wrestling. Minton backed his horse into the box, nodded his head ... and almost rode over the steer when it came to a dead stop about five feet out of the chute.
“That’s just the way rodeo goes,” Minton said. “You just have to keep on going and hope things turn around.”
Things turned around slightly in the team roping, the final event of the day, as he and partner Colton Campbell from Fresno State had a 12.1-second run to finish 14th in the first go.
After it was all over, Minton could only shrug his shoulders and look ahead to Tuesday, when he’ll compete in all three events again.
“I’ll just come back and do it all again tomorrow,” he said.
Ty Harris from Cisco Junior College was second in the tie-down with an 8.9, followed by Northeastern Oklahoma A&M’s Joshua Pool with a 9.6.
Utah Valley University freshman Emmalee Dubois looked like a seasoned veteran Monday, winning the event with a time of 6.2 seconds.
“This is crazy,” she said. “I can’t believe it. It’s unreal right now.”
Dubois won the Rocky Mountain Region and was third in the national rankings entering the week, so it’s not like she hasn’t proven herself in the arena this year.
She still gave herself a pep talk before her run and then had to wait to see if her goat stayed tied.
“I just told myself to be smooth and stay in the average,” she said. “And then my tie was on pretty loose, but it worked out in my favor and I’m pretty grateful for that.”
Dubois was one-tenth of a second better than Eastern Wyoming College’s Karissa Rayhill, with Black Hills State’s Carlee Johnston and Southern Arkansas’ Jacie Sullivan both posting 6.4-second runs.
Colorado State-Pueblo’s Teisha Coffield had a good feeling coming into this year’s CNFR. Those positive vibes almost disappeared Sunday when the senior broke the barrier to finish well out of the money.
Undeterred, Coffield went out Monday with the same attitude and took the lead in the second go-round with a 2.2-second run, the fastest of the week.
“I felt confident coming in here,” Coffield said. “It didn’t work out the way we wanted it to Sunday, but they’re going to give us a couple more (runs) so we’re going to do what we can with what we’ve got.”
Coffield is the lone representative from CSU-Pueblo at the CNFR, but she believes that’s going to change in the near future.
“We’re kind of in the process of building a program,” she said. “The school is going to implement an ag program so that’s going to draw in a lot of rodeo kids.”
Gillette College’s Rickie Engesser followed her 3.7-second run Sunday with a 2.5 Monday.
“The first thing my coach said was, ‘If your shot’s there, take it. If not, just go rope because if you get it around the neck then you get to see another day.’
“That was my game plan again today. Don’t take yourself out of it.”
Engesser also put herself in contention in barrel racing, finishing third with a 14.58.
“Really, my main goal was to ride aggressive and keep all the barrels up,” she said. “I had no sense of going out and trying to do anything extra to take myself out of it.”
For the second year in a row, Northwestern Oklahoma State’s Cody Devers won the first go. Unlike last year, however, this time Devers didn’t have to share top honors.
The senior from Perryton, Texas, had a 3.8-second run while Cord Barricklow of Tennessee-Martin was second with a 4.0.
Roping first, Walla Walla Community College teammates Lexis Andrade and Ethan Awa posted a time of 6.8 seconds. They then watched as 46 other teams failed to knock them off the top spot.
That left just Cole White of Blue Mountain Community College and Calgary Smith of Walla Walla as the last team with a chance. White and Smith did what they had to do, recording a 5.7 to win the first go.