Rodeo team ropers catch on quick at opening rodeo

With more members than ever before, the Fort Hays State University rodeo team came into the first rodeo of the 2009-2010 season with more chances than ever to climb up the regional standings.

Cole Pearson, Clearwater freshman, had a particularly successful weekend after qualifying for the short round at the Colby Community College Rodeo, Sept. 18-20. Pearson is now tied for fourth place as a team roping header in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Central Plains Region.

“Hopefully I can stay up there in the top all year and make the CNFR,” said Pearson.

The College National Finals Rodeo is the final competition of the season. Each region’s top three contestants in each event compete for the national championship. This season’s CNFR will be June 14-20, 2010, in Casper, Wyo.

Pearson teamed up with Duell Strickler from Garden City Community College in the long-go for a time of nine seconds.

That time put Pearson and Strickler in fourth place going into the short-go. At the close of the final round, Pearson and Strickler remained in fourth for the average after a time of 24.2. Strickler missed the heels on his first catch but got a clean catch with his second loop.

Also qualifying for the short-go was Colton Stueve, Stillwater junior, as a team roping header. Stueve, along with his heeler, Jesse Britton from Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Goodwell, stopped the clock in nine seconds flat in the long-go, placing the two in 10th going into Sunday.

After a no-time in the short-go, the two ended up 10th in the average. Out of 103 teams, though, Stueve wouldn’t complain about being at the bottom of the top.

“It was a good way to start off the season, and I’m looking forward to competing in the upcoming rodeos. It’s a good feeling to be in the top out of so many teams,” he said.

Other FHSU rodeo team members also made clean runs, but none quick enough to make the final round.

Another, on the other hand, had a quick run but faced a penalty that kept her out of the Sunday competition.

Alexandra Umphenour, Pleasanton freshman, would have made the short-go in barrel racing but her horse knocked over the first barrel, resulting in a five-second penalty. Umphenour was forced to borrow a horse for Colby’s rodeo because her horse was injured.

“When I learned that my horse was hurt and I wasn’t going to be able to run him I was really disappointed, but I didn’t want to miss out on the first college rodeo. Even though I got to practice on her (the borrowed horse) once, it wasn’t enough. It takes months to get with a good horse and learn how to cue it, when to cue it, and what to do and what not to do,” Umphenour said.

“I think I was just really unfocused,” she said. “I wasn’t really thinking, so we weren’t ready. But I guess I was happy we even got close to the short-go. Maybe next time.”

The competitors who filled out FHSU’s largest rodeo team ever, at 39, are listed by hometown, classification, and event.

ABILENE: Ethan McDonald, senior, team roping
ALLIANCE, Neb.: Shea Henderson, senior, barrel racing and breakaway roping
ALMENA: Tanner Jessup, freshman, bull riding
ANDOVER: Gage Blair, freshman, team roping
BRULE, Neb.: Jennifer Sherman, junior, breakaway roping and team roping
CALHAN, Colo.: Autumn Winters, sophomore, barrel racing
FREDONIA: Colby Worrell, freshman, calf roping and steer wrestling
GROVER, Colo.: Callie Capraro, junior, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying
HARPER: CJ Pence, freshman, bull riding
HILL CITY: Shane Harmon, senior, team roping
JEWELL: Cecilia Reiter, junior, barrel racing
LEOTI: Lena Biel, sophomore, barrel racing
LITTLE SUAMICO, Wis.: Samantha King, senior, goat tying
LYONS: Garret Ludwig, senior, team roping
MANKATO: Matt Becker, junior, team roping
MAYWOOD, Neb.: Cort Chittick, freshman, team roping
MONTE VISTA, Colo.: Blair Jones, freshman, steer wrestling and team roping; Cody Pratt, senior, steer wrestling and team roping
PAXTON, Neb.: Bret Daly, junior, steer wrestling and team roping
PHILLIPSBURG: Kadie Hays, freshman, barrel racing and breakaway roping; Nikki Brobst, sophomore, breakaway roping
PLEVNA: Jordan Sammons, freshman, bull riding
PRATT: Josie Brenner, sophomore, barrel racing
PURDUM, Neb.: Bobbi Cox, junior, breakaway roping
SPEARVILLE: Adam Stegman, junior, team roping

Team members who did not compete in Colby:

ABILENE: Courtney Miley, junior, barrel racing and goat tying
AUGUSTA: Cody Kiser, junior, bull riding
BRULE, Neb.: Ben Robinson, junior, calf roping, steer wrestling and team roping
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.: Haley Wilkison, freshman, barrel racing and breakaway roping
ELLIS: Kara Hackney, freshman, breakaway roping; Alisha Markle, freshman, barrel racing
JEWELL: Josh Smith, junior, saddle bronc riding
HANSTON: Cassie Wasko, freshman, barrel racing
LYONS: Stevie Magnuson, freshman, barrel racing
OTTAWA: Erin Rossman, freshman
SHAWNEE MISSION: Jamie Werkowitch, sophomore, barrel racing

The current standings and rodeo results can be found on the NIRA Web site, For more information on the FHSU Rodeo Team, visit the Web site at

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