Rodeo represents Tarleton well at CNFR; Self wins reserve national bareback title

CNFR 2012

Tarleton State University

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CASPER, Wyo.—The luck of the draw deserted the cowgirls and cowboys of Tarleton State University’s rodeo team at the 63rd annual College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR), an event that’s known as the “Rose Bowl” of college rodeo.

Prior to the CNFR, the men’s team won this year’s National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Southwest Region title and the women’s team claimed reserve champion honors. Tarleton was represented by 12 students among the more than 400 qualifiers from over 100 universities.

“Although the team standings do not show it, our rodeo team had a great finals this year in Casper,” said rodeo coach Mark Eakin. “Jake Self won the Southwest Region and was reserve national champion in the bareback riding. Katie Vierstra won third in the breakaway roping and it was her first time to qualify for the CNFR. Cassie Vierstra won fifth in the goat tying and this was her fifth consecutive CNFR.

“We had five individuals make the short go at the CNFR and three ended up in the top five in the nation,” Eakin continued. “We had some broken barriers late in the week that cost us a chance at a national team title, but that is rodeo. Tarleton was well represented again at the national level and I am very proud of everyone who contributed to our success at the regional level and at the national level as well.”

Jake Self had an excellent showing in the bareback riding event and returned from Casper as this year’s reserve national champion at the CNFR, and also received reserve champion accolades in the national year-end standings among bareback riders. Prior to the CNFR, the junior ag production major and transfer from Fort Scott Community College captured this year’s Southwest Region bareback riding championship, and qualified for the CNFR short round after placing 4th in the first (76.5 points) and second (74.5) rounds of action, and 10th in the third round (73.5).

Breakaway roper Katie Vierstra, a junior nursing student and transfer from South Plains College, was consistent in the arena through three rounds and qualified for the CNFR short round where she won 3rd place in the average with a combined time of 14.4 seconds on four head. Katie Vierstra, this year’s Southwest Region reserve champion breakaway roper, recorded times of 4.9, 2.9 and 3.3 seconds through the first three rounds, and finished 2nd in the short round with a 3.3-second effort.

Five-time CNFR qualifier Cassie Vierstra also qualified for the CNFR short round in goat tying, ultimately capturing 5th place in the average with a combined time of 28.5 seconds on four head. The Tarleton graduate student won the first round with a 6.6-second effort and finished 6th in the short round with a 7.4. Cassie Vierstra completed the season as the third-best goat tying cowgirl in the Southwest Region.

Also qualifying for the short round and placing 6th at the CNFR was steer wrestler Kiel Rowan, who made his second-straight appearance in Casper. Rowan finished 7th in the average in the steer wrestling event by earning times of 25.3 seconds on four head. The cowboy also qualified for the tiedown roping event but a broken barrier in the first round prevented him from advancing to the short round. The senior’s successes prior to the CNFR include capturing this year’s Southwest Region title in tiedown roping and 3rd place in steer wrestling.

Tara Schroedter, a junior transfer from Vernon College, represented her team well by qualifying for the short round in the goat tying event after recording times of 6.9 seconds in the first round and finishing 11th in the average with a 30.3. She qualified for the CNFR after having earned this year’s Southwest Region runner-up title in the event.

Also representing the Tarleton women’s team at the CNFR were breakaway roper Shelby Smith and barrel racer Casey Carter. Although falling short of qualifying for the short round, Smith finished the season in 9th place among breakaway ropers in the Southwest Region while Carter completed her campaign as the region’s No. 9 barrel racer.

Tim Sparing, this year’s Southwest Region steer wrestling champion, took 2nd place in the first round of action before a broken barrier penalty in the third round cost him an opportunity to qualify for the short round.

Joel Schlegel was just shy of advancing to the short round in the bareback riding event after finishing 13th in the average, which included a 74-point ride in the first round. Although Schlegel’s luck ran out at the CNFR, the junior ag business major enjoyed success in the Southwest Region this season by earning 3rd place honors and qualifying for the CNFR.

Payton Norell and his team roping partner were among the top 18 slots following first and second round action but a miss in the third round prevented the duo from advancing at the CNFR. Norell, a senior business major, completed the season as the No. 3 header in the Southwest Region.

Also for the Tarleton cowboys, another broken barrier prevented tiedown roper Troy Hubbard from moving on after the first round, while two-time CNFR qualifier Tate Owens was dealt several tough draws in the saddle bronc competition. Hubbard finished the 2012 season as the No. 5 tiedown roper in the region and Owens enjoyed a 3rd place finish among saddle bronc riders.

“I’m very proud of both teams’ performances throughout the year and at the CNFR. They all worked hard this season,” said assistant rodeo coach Tibba Smith. “We have high expectations for next year with lots of great recruits to add to the already tough current roster.”

For more information about rodeo at Tarleton State University, please visit


Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System

Contact: Kurt Mogonye

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