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CNFR - Monday

Tarleton State's Haven Meged competes in tie-down roping during slack at the College National Finals Rodeo on Monday at the Casper Events Center.

Haven Meged didn’t think his calf got out. Then came a cutting “Yah!” from his buddy, Ty Harris. That was enough to convince Meged. The Tarleton State 19-year old jumped out and wasted no time lassoing the calf to the ground and smoothly leaving it on the Casper Events Center arena dirt bound.

Meged has always been able to trust Ty. And after Tuesday morning’s slack that completed the second go-round, the two are bound by more than just the road.

Meged’s 8.1-second run on Tuesday won the second go and put him in the lead of the 2019 College Nationals Finals Rodeo with a two-head time of 17.6 seconds in the average. Harris, his riding buddy, threw an 8.7 just minutes later to move just behind Meged with an average of 17.9 for sole possession of second.

“We’ve been traveling together,” Meged said. “And that helps. He ropes really, really good.”

Harris won last year’s tie-down roping national championship while competing for Cisco College. Consistency helped him build a big enough lead that he threw a 13-flat in the short go and still won by 1.3 seconds. He won’t get that same luxury since there may be no cowboy in Casper right now riding and roping as well as the guy who rides shotgun for him.

Meged’s currently fifth in the PRCA tie-down standings, having pocketed $56,234 to date. That includes winning the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida, back in March.

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“That was a great rodeo,” Meged said. “It was good. Winning that, it dang sure boosts your confidence, being in the world standings during your rookie season, it’s a dream come true.”

And yet, he didn’t want his current standing to alter his performances at the CNFR.

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“You can’t let other rodeos affect it,” Meged said. “Once the rodeo is over, it’s over. You’ve got to move on. Every day is a new day.”

Central Washington’s Trey Recanzone, who came into the CNFR leading the nation, missed his calf on Monday and struggled to rope an 18.9 on Tuesday. That, and a load of pedestrian times registered during Tuesday’s slack, have allowed Meged and Harris to stand nearly a second clear of the competition through just two go’s. Brothers Jarrett and Denton Oestmann went back-to-back with 18-plus second go’s, Northwest College multi-event standout Caleb McMillan drew an applause by being the only cowboy in 21 attempts to make a sub-10 time.

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In other words, Tuesday morning’s slack tie-down wasn’t exciting. But what will be exciting is watching Harris and Meged go toe-to-toe for the tie-down roping championship from this point on. Fans eager to watch their competition and compare scores during their third go’s won’t have to stress too much.

“We both rope (Wednesday) night,” Meged said. “We’re back-to-back. I’m first.”

He let a smile crack from ear to ear thinking about that. They’re both enjoying their rodeo at the moment. They’re also excited to see each other continue to push the average.

Meged watched Harris win last year’s championship from 10th after missing his calf in the short go. He’d love to improve on that and win a national championship. But he’d be happy with watching a repeat championship happen, too.

“I wouldn’t care who won it, then,” he said. “That would be awesome if we went first and second.”

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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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