Mid-June in Wyoming saw the 70th annual College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper bring together nearly 400 cowboys and cowgirls from 33 states as well as Australia and Canada, making it one of the nation’s largest rodeos with a full complement of events — including bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying.
How they get here isn’t easy, as the CNFR is the best of the best in college rodeo. Contestants compete all year in one of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s (NIRA) 11 regions, which crowns individual event champions. The top three students in each event and top two men’s and women’s teams from the NIRA’s regions qualify for the CNFR.
Congratulations to the Canadians who qualified and earned the right to compete in the CNFR.
This year saw Canadians Dawson Dahm of Duffield, Alta., who attends Panhandle State, and Keenan Reinhardt of Calgary, Alta., who attends Montana State, earn second and fourth place respectively in Saddle Bronc. In Goat Tying, Janna Dallyn of Nanton, Alta., who attends South Plains College, earned third place, and Jenny Massing of Ponoka, Alta., who attends Northwestern Oklahoma State University, made it to the Short Go to finish seventh.
Other qualifying Canadians included saddle bronc rider Jake Burwash of Nanton, Alta., who attends Cochise College, bareback rider Linden Woods of Swift Current, Sask., who attends Tarleton State University, bull rider K’s Thomson of Lundbreck, Alta., who attends Sheridan College, breakaway roper Rayna Longeway from Calgary, Alta., who attends the University of Idaho, team roper Sloan James Smith of Blackie, Alta., who attends Southwestern Oklahoma State University, breakaway roper and barrel racer, Lakota Bird of Nanton, Alta., who attends Central Arizona College, and steer wrestler Landon Beardsworth of Red Deer, Alta., who attends Eastern New Mexico University. The winningest colleges included Panhandle State University with 750 pts, Tarleton State University with 650 pts and Northwestern Oklahoma State University with 595 pts.
In 2013, the seven days of the CNFR saw rodeo fans spending $8.1M in the city of Casper.