Rodeo team does well at nationals
The Fort Scott Community College men's rodeo team rode away with three members earning top national placings and an overall 11th place finish in the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., June 10-16.
"I'm really proud of the young men that we got to take out there and hopefully we'll get to go back next year," rodeo coach Chad Cross said Monday evening.
Six Greyhounds competed at the CNFR after automatically qualifying following their first-place finish in the Central Plains Region last month, beating Panhandle State University by more than 1,000 points. FSCC President Clayton Tatro traveled to Wyoming for the finals.
Three bareback, two bull and one saddle bronc rider competed during the week-long finals.
"We had a good week," Cross said. "The start wasn't the best, but we got better as we went along. Our goal wasn't 11th, but our kids did well and I'm extremely proud."
Dubbed the "Rose Bowl" of college rodeos by the CNFR website, more than 400 contestants from over 100 universities come out for the prestigious event. Forty-five contestants competed in each event and 55 teams vied for the national title taken home by Walla Walla Community College.
Finals participants are typically college juniors and seniors, according to a May news release. Former Greyhound Jake Self, Tarleton State University, also competed.
Representing FSCC were: Bareback riders Yance Day, Blaine Kaufman, Tyler Pasour; bull riders Chelse Day and David King; and saddle bronc rider Jade Blackwell.
Pasour and Kaufman placed ninth and sixth, respectively, in the bareback field.
Looking back on the rodeo season, Cross said he's "really proud" of everyone who competed throughout the year.
"We had a good year," Cross said. "We had the right kids in the right spots."
The season, which starts in the fall, featured numerous top finishes for both the men and women's teams. For the first time, the rodeo team finished the season with all three top competitors in one event -- bareback riding.
This year also marked the best improvement from one year to the next for the women's team, according to a May news release.
Recruiting for the upcoming season, Cross said, is under way and in full swing.
Out of about 65 kids, half will be returning for next year.
"We have a really good group coming back," he said.
The 16-year veteran rodeo coach will be busy throughout July with the National High School rodeo finals and another rodeo in Shawnee, Okla.
Cross said he and assistant rodeo coach Jeff Sawyer are looking to strengthen the women's program.
Less than 20 women competed this year.
"I think we'll do better. I'm looking forward to strengthening the girls program here," Cross said. "We've got a good program and a great place to come to school. We just need to be better about getting that out."