You can tell from a visit to the dirt at Trapper Arena how high the spirit is this season.
The Northwest College riders know they’ve got something special going. It’s in the atmosphere.
“We’ve just got really good talent this year,” team roper Matt Williams said.
Last weekend the Trappers reinforced their stature in Big Sky Region rodeo by sweeping two straight dominating victories.
Friday at Dawson Community College, Northwest topped an eight-team field with 815 points. The University of Montana-Western was second with 640 points. The triumph was just as thorough the next day at Miles City Community College, with the Trappers amassing 865 points and Western second again with 600 in a nine-team competition.
That leaves Northwest leading the region by more than 600 points and entertaining thoughts of the team qualifying for the College Finals Rodeo in Casper in June.
“I’m happy,” coach Del Nose said. “I’m way happy. It is a lot of fun. They’re hot.”
The high-level showings are coming from many sources. Bubba Boots from St. Anthony, Idaho is leading the all-around cowboy standings, but teammates Wes Mann (third) from Sheridan and Caleb McMillan (fourth) from Soap Lake, Wash., are right there.
Nose said most of his recruiting is by word-of-mouth as former students tell young people NWC is a good place for rodeo.
Boots is first in steer wrestling and second in the team-roping header listings with Williams the second-ranked heeler.
McMillan is first in the region in tie-down roping and he and Jake Davis are 3-4 in bull riding.
Throw in Emilio Reyna of Tucson as a team-roping header and the Trappers have points coming from many directions.
The Lady Trappers have not been doing as well, residing in fifth place in the region standings, but they have been moving up.
“I’m tickled to death, Nose said of the women’s squad. “It’s a stepping-stone for next year.”
Sophomore Sierra Lyons, had a big rodeo at Dawson, winning barrel racing and taking second in the all-around.
Brooke Winward, a freshman, placed fifth in goat tying in Miles City.
In a surprise, Boots was shut out of the points in the Dawson rodeo.
“Very unusual,” Nose said.
Yet Nose was encouraged the Trappers could win easily without Boots scoring.
Boots bounced back to win the all-around at Miles City after Mann won at Dawson. Mann likes the sound of the team making nationals as a group.
“That would be pretty cool,” he said.
Mann was first in team roping with Reyna and second in saddle bronc riding in the Dawson rodeo. McMillan won bull riding, was third in tie-down roping and third in the all-around.
At Miles City, Boots was second in steer wrestling. Jake Davis was second in bull riding. Boots and Williams won team roping this night.
“You get that team bonding,” Reyna said of forming a roping partnership.
He and Mann hooked up last August at Cody Nite Rodeo before school started and got their roping styles acquainted.
“That’s how we started our college partnership,” Reyna said.
(Lew Freedman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)