Erryn Hodson steadied her horse in the practice pen and jolted forward on an exhale. She calmly swung her right leg back over her horse as the innocent goat froze in its place. She gracefully dismounted, planted in the Casper Events Center arena dirt and threw the goat to the ground.
During Erryn’s third go-round-winning 5.8 second run, twin sister Emma nervously cheered on. Erryn’s second go of 7.2 meant she needed a good time if she hoped make the short go of the 2019 College National Finals Rodeo. Emma, who already stood second in the nation in goat trying on three head, always gets more nervous for Erryn’s runs than her own anyway.
With that third run Erryn put herself sixth in the aggregate going into Saturday’s short. In addition to being twins, they’re the a tandem pair in a family of five girls. They grew up sharing horses, ropes and clothes, and on Saturday they shared college rodeo’s largest spotlight.
“I’m blessed to have a best friend like her here with me,” Emma said earlier in the week. “We’ve been very blessed with supportive parents that have helped us tie goats. We work our butts off so it’s good to be able to come here and show our talents. We work hard enough.”
The two Weber State freshmen went into Saturday’s final go separated by 0.5 seconds. Emma trailed the lead by 0.7 seconds and Erryn was just 0.2 seconds out of third. They were happy just to be in that position as freshmen before the spotlight came down Saturday.
“It makes me feel so good to see her do good,” Erryn said. “And then I do good, so I’m happy.”
Erryn tripped on the goat rope and bobbled her way to a 7.5 in the short. Emma bobbled on way to a 6.3 to finish 0.1 behind co-champions Beau Peterson and Mia Manzanares.
Manzanares won the goat tying and all-around last year and threw a 5.8 in the short, only for Peterson to tie on the very next run with a 5.9.
All week long it had been defending national champion Ty Harris against his traveling partner Haven Meged of Tarleton State. The two went toe-to-toe right up until they were the last ones left in Saturday’s short.
Harris went first as he slightly trailed. His hopes of repeating as national champion vanished as his burst out of the pen didn’t help him miss the calf. The crowd gasped knowing he hadn’t done that all week.
That left Meged all alone, needing just a 13.1 to clinch the championship. He was clean out of the pen, roped the calf, struggled to get the cow down, but was clean on the tie to finish with a 10.3. It was his slowest run of the week but it brought the fans to their feet and a new saddle to his stable.
Taylor Munsell of Northwest Oklahoma State stood above the field throughout the week and, in the final breakaway go of the 2019 CNFR, she clinched the national championship.
Promising upstart Shelby Boisjoli, who entered the short fourth in the nation, threw a 2.1 to win the go and put pressure on the top of the aggregate. The next two cowgirls missed their calves, putting the spotlight on Munsell to finish. And with an extra stride, Munsell threw out and secured the national championship by 0.6 seconds.
“Super happy for Shelby, she made a great run,” Munsell said. “I knew all I needed to do was make a solid run and use my head.”
There wasn’t a bulldoger more consistent throughout the rodeo week than Bridger Anderson. Thanks to his first three go-rounds he came into Saturday with breathing room and he needed every tick.
Anderson initially missed the left horn and was left to desperately throw his leg out, tripping the steer to the ground for a 6.7, enough to hold onto the national championship by 0.1 seconds.
Southeast Oklahoma State’s duo of Dalton Titsworth and Kolton White cruised to the national championship by throwing a 8.1 in the short go. They were one of the few teams that roped three head and stood atop the aggregate going in. They weren’t the fastest of the go, trailing the best time of 6.0, but it was good enough to clinch the championship.
With a smooth cloverleaf and a sharp pivot around the second barrel, Ashtyn Carlson put an exclamation point on the season. The College of Southern Idaho cowgirl scored a 14.03, which was the second-fastest time of the go, but coupled with the time she put in her first three go-rounds, helped her take the championship victory lap.