After two semesters of competition and 10 intercollegiate rodeos, Travis Camac, Augusta sophomore, will make his first trip to the College National Finals Rodeo from June 11-17 at the Casper Convention Center in Casper, WY, representing Fort Hays State University in steer wrestling.
The CNFR consists of the top three competitors in each of the nine rodeo events, plus the top two teams, men and women, from each of the 11 geographical regions.
"The CNFR is the 'Rose Bowl' of college rodeo," said Dr. Garry Brower, associate professor of agriculture and rodeo team coach. "He will be one of 33 of the best National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association steer wrestlers that will compete for the title of National Champion Steer Wrestler of the NIRA."
The NIRA is composed of 135 colleges and universities and the membership of intercollegiate competitors is more than 3,500.
How Camac made the CNFR competition is a Cinderella story in itself.
At the end of the seventh rodeo competition this season, Camac was leading the region. Following a disappointing run at the ninth competition, he fell to second by 10 points.
As a result, the 10th and last rodeo would be the deciding factor because the top seven steer wrestlers were spread by only 145 points, Brower said. The maximum number of points that can be won at one rodeo is 160 points.
"Murphy's Law prevailed at the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Rodeo in Durant, OK, our 10th rodeo," said Brower.
There was a requirement of a slim 3.7 to 6.1 seconds to qualify for the short round, the championship round. The first- and second-place steer wrestlers did not make it back to this final round, but the third- through eighth-place ranked individuals did.
As a result, the fifth-ranked steer wrestler won the long round with 3.7 seconds, came back in the short (championship) round with a 4.8-second run, and won the average low time on the two steers. Carmac, who came in third, had enough points to go to the nationals.
The Central Plains Region will be represented in the steer wrestling by the regional champion Trevor Cox of Garden City Community College, reserve champion Chancey Boeser of Pratt Community College, and Camac, representing FHSU.
Despite the many highs and lows, the FHSU Women's Rodeo Team finished ninth place and the Men's Rodeo Team finished in 10th place in the Central Plains Region.