College National Finals Rodeo underway in Wyoming

On opening day of the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., the performances are called “Bulls, Broncs & Breakaway.”

Riders and ropers compete in the first round of bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and break-away roping.

When the 2019 College National Finals began its seven-day run on Sunday, Colten Fritzlan of Western Texas College in Snyder tied for first place in the bull riding first round. Fritzlan and Panola College’s Daylon Swearingen shared the round win with scores of 82 at the Casper Events Center.

During the CNFR on Sunday, Fritzlan conquered a bull named 305Y County Line, which is owned by the Frontier Rodeo Co.

“I knew I had a good draw from Frontier,” Fritzlan said. “I dominated him every jump. I just felt confident on him. I felt like I matched him every jump.”

Fritzlan, 19, is a second generation CNFR qualifier. His father, Cole Fritzlan, competed in steer wrestling at the 2004 CNFR for Oklahoma Panhandle State. He was an Oklahoma Panhandle State team member in 2004 when OPSU clinched the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s men’s team title at the CNFR in Casper.

Colten Fritzlan, who is from Rifle, Colo., is a freshman at Western Texas where is majoring in welding. He advanced to the June 9-15 College National Finals after clinching the 2018-2019 bull riding title in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Region, a college rodeo super conference. South Plains College, Texas Tech, Tarleton State and Clarendon College also compete in the Southwest Region.

Clarendon College made its presence known in the bull riding and bronc riding events during Sunday’s College National Finals performances.

Clarendon College’s Riggin Smith finished second in the first round of saddle bronc riding after turning in a score of 78. His cousin, Tegan Smith, who also attends Clarendon College, finished fifth in the round with a 75.

Riggin’ Smith turned in the 78 aboard a bronc named Warrior, which was owned by the Frontier Rodeo Co. Tegan Smith busted a bronc named Cedar Fever, which is owned by Harry Vold.

Cooper Thatcher of Oklahoma Panhandle State won the saddle bronc riding first round with an 82-point effort.

Clarendon College’s Tegan Smith also tied for ninth place in the bull riding first round with a 70.5.

In bareback riding, Clarendon College’s Josh Green tied for 19th place in the first round with a 71.

Clarendon College rodeo coach Bret Franks said he was pleased with his roughstock riders’ first round performances.

“It was great,” Franks said. “I couldn’t have asked for them to do any better. They did good with what they had.”

Ty Harris, the defending NIRA champion tie-down roper, finished second in the first round with a 9.2. Harris, who is from San Angelo, attends Texas A&M Commerce.

Lauren Bane of Sam Houston State got off to a good start at the College National Finals in goat tying. Bane tied for fifth in the first round after turning in a 6.2 on Monday. Maddee Doerr of Cochise College won the round with a 6.2.

PRCA/WPRA update

During the past weekend, many of the top competitors on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association circuits saddled up in Sisters, Ore., to compete in the Sisters Rodeo.

Taos Muncy, a two-time world champion, clinched his third saddle bronc riding title at the Oregon rodeo, which was conducted June 7-9. According to prorodeo.com, Muncy won the 2019 edition with an 86-point effort on Big Bend Rodeo's Majorhuckleberry. Muncy also finished No. 1 in the title race at Sisters in 2015 and in 2017.

Muncy, who is from Corona, N.M., is a former Oklahoma Panhandle State star. In 2007, he clinched the saddle bronc riding title in both the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Muncy also clinched the PRCA’s saddle bronc riding gold buckle in 2011.

Throughout his illustrious career, Muncy has earned 10 trips to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas (2007, 2009-15, 2017-18).

Muncy earned $4,174 for winning the Sisters Rodeo. He is ranked 23rd in the PRCA’s 2019 saddle bronc riding world standings with $24,349.

Other winners at the $155,934 Sisters rodeo were all-around cowboy Tyler Forsberg ($1,852, tie-down roping and team roping); bareback rider Tilden Hooper (87 points on Big Bend Rodeo's James Bond); steer wrestler Mike McGinn (8.9 seconds on two head); team ropers Dustin Bird/Trey Yates (5.2 seconds); tie-down ropers Westyn Hughes and Jake Pratt (19.3 seconds on two head); barrel racer Meka Farr (17.29 seconds); and bull rider Parker Breding (86 points on Corey & Lange Rodeo's American Grit).

Former National Finals Rodeo qualifier Clayton Hass of Weatherford clinched the steer wrestling title at the June 6-8 Gladewater Round-Up Rodeo with a time of 3.7 and earned $1,823. Hass is ranked 25th in the PRCA’s steer wrestling world standings with $25,060.

Stevi Hillman, another former NFR qualifier from Weatherford, clinched the barrel racing title and pocketed $1,823. Hillman is ranked ninth in the WPRA’s pro rodeo world standings with $44,784.

Fisher roping tough

Vin Fisher Jr., a former Texas Tech competitor who is from Andrews, clinched the steer roping title the June 6-8 Pioneer Days Rodeo in Clovis, N.M. after turning in a 35.3 on three runs. Fisher, a 15-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier, pocketed $2,938. He is ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2019 steer roping world title race with $37,789.

FW Stockyards Rodeo

Cowtown Coliseum officials announced that they will feature a PRCA rodeo each week for 10 consecutive weeks in the Fort Worth Stockyards. The series of 10 rodeos begins, Friday, June 14. The performances will begin at 8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night through Aug. 17.

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos and horse shows for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades. Email him at bchoffman777@earthlink.net.