After Solid Showing At National Finals, Trappers Will Have Returning Talent
Though he was hoping for a little better finish for his men’s team, Northwest College head rodeo coach Del Nose said he was pleased overall with last week’s College National Finals Rodeo. The Trappers finished 15th in the nation out of 54 teams, and featured a runner-up in the men’s All-Around in Caleb McMillan.
“Well, the rodeo was good, the kids tried hard,” Nose said. “I think the freshmen got their eyes opened a little bit. We kept telling them that this stuff is going to be rank, they’re gonna buck and you better have your ‘A’ game. Through trial and error, I think it finally set in.”
The Trappers qualified six for the CNFR, including Caleb McMillan (all-around), Clancy Glenn (saddle bronc), Will Griffel (team roping), Colten Fisher (team roping), Justin Ketzenberg (bull riding) and Keaton Martz (bull riding and team roping).
McMillan was the top finisher for NWC, taking second in the All-Around; he was the only Trapper to advance to the short round, qualifying in bull riding. Had he completed his short round bull ride, he would have won the All-Around by a sizable margin.
“Caleb did all he could do, he bucked off his last bull to take second in the All-Around,” Nose said. “He stays on the bull, he wins the All-Around hands down, he’d have won it by over 100 points. It kind of let the air out of his sails a little bit.”
McMillan was ranked first in the nation going into the CNFR for the second straight year, and was the Big Sky Region champion. With one year of collegiate eligibility left, Nose is hoping McMillan will decide to return and give the CNFR one more shot.
“We’ll see what happens now,” Nose said. “He’s off and running rodeo now, so we just don’t know quite for sure what he’s thinking. We talked about it a bit before we came home. I told him he’s only got one more chance to get to the college finals — you don’t get to go back after that. I think he’s pondering it, thinking about it.”
The good news for Nose is that three of the other five CNFR qualifiers — Glenn, Ketzenberg and Martz — will be retuning in the fall. After failing to complete a ride in his first two attempts at the CNFR, Glenn finally got on the board in the third go of saddle bronc, scoring a 66.5-point ride. He finished in 28th after failing to make the short round.
“I think this week made an impression on him. Ketzenberg and Martz, the same thing,” Nose said of Glenn. “But the deal is with these guys is, they want it — they want it, they want it, they want it. They want to be competitive next year, so we’re excited about that.”
Two cowboys who won’t be back are sophomores Griffel and Fisher, who also struggled in the first two rounds before getting on the board in their final run with a time of 5.6 seconds, good for 26th place.
“One missed one end one day, one missed the other day,” Nose said. “But they made it 5.6 on their third round.”
With both Griffel and Fisher graduating, “we’ll miss them,” he said.
Nose has already been recruiting for next season, and with a strong foundation of returners, he’s confident the team will be able to pick up where it left off.
“I gotta be honest with you, we’ve got some tough kids coming in,” he said. “Hopefully we can be as competitive next year as we were this last year. And I have a feeling these freshmen, who will be coming in as sophomores next year, are going to be great. It’s starting to come together pretty good. We got the fire in the oven, and we’re ready to go.”