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CNFR - day 1

University of Arkansas-Monticello's Whitney DeSalvo competes in breakaway roping during the Bulls, Broncs & Breakaway competition at the College National Finals Rodeo on Sunday at the Casper Events Center.

Quincy Segelke and her horse have been together long enough that telekinesis isn’t out of the question. In fact, after her Sunday afternoon ride during Bulls, Broncs & Breakaway, she thought that may be the only way to explain the lame steps in the lead-up to her first go-round.

“I thought she was pretty sore,” Segelke said. “I don’t know if it was because she wanted to take my mind off the roping so she thought maybe she’d — I don’t know but that definitely took my mind off the roping.”

With her mind on a different potential problem amid the pressures of the 2019 College National Finals Rodeo, the Chadron State cowgirl cleared the barrier and threw her cast to score a 2.1 in breakaway roping’s final section. That drew an applause from the Casper Events Center crowd when the leaderboard showed her in a tie with Northwest Oklahoma State’s Taylor Munsell atop the standings.

“To be tied with the round win is more than I could even ask for,” Segelke said. “My outlook for the first one is to go get one down and if the cards fall where they fall, that’s how it works. It’s a breath of fresh air.”

She later laughed about the mind-reading thought. After all, that would be crazy. The Segelke family raised that horse and Quincy’s older sister rode the mare in school. Then Quincy inherited her just in time for the pair to win the Wyoming State High School Championship during her senior year. The two have been together ever since.

This is now their third CNFR together. And while she takes comfort in the familiarity of the unchanging Casper Events Center set-up, there’s always the issue of nerves. Her mother asked about those nerves. Segelke told a white lie.

“I said no but deep down if you don’t get nervous I don’t think you love it anymore,” Segelke said. “But it’s definitely an advantage to be here for a third time.”

She’s not the only veteran in the breakaway field, however. Returning breakaway champion (as well as goat tying, all-around and team champion) Mia Manzanares brought the crowd into an audible gasp by throwing her cast with the speed and routine of a blink. That would have scored her a 1.7 and put her in the commanding lead. A second glance back towards the pen showed a flag on the arena dirt, signaling that the McNeese State cowgirl broke the barrier. As quickly as she roped the calf, her 1.7 turned to a 11.7, putting her in 21st.

That was a farcry from the breakaway action that started Sunday afternoon, when six cowgirls threw 2.5 and the first three cowgirls couldn’t even rope the calf.

Shelby Boisjoli of Ranger College didn’t pay much attention to those scores. She focused on herself, her horse and not breaking the barrier. Once her and her mare pressed against the padded corner her mind cleared. She relied upon muscle memory to throw a 2.2, tying her for third in the average.

“I was just looking back thinking I hope I didn’t break the barrier back there,” she said.

Boisjoli ropes again Tuesday and Wednesday night. She plans to stay relaxed during that time in between, maybe keep her horse calmed down. Not all cowgirls have the same luxury as Segelke.

The Chadron State cowgirl goes again Monday before her third go on Friday. She plans to visit her mother, who lives in Douglas, to rope some calves for fun.

“It’s great to be home,” the co-leader smiled.

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Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans

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High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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