Sweeping two rodeos over four days of competition at Montana State University propelled the Northwest College men’s rodeo team into first place in the Big Sky Region last weekend.
“I’m thrilled,” said coach Del Nose, as the squad built upon its solid start from the autumn portion of the season. “I feel way good.”
The two victories gave the Trappers 3,288 points for the split season, moving them ahead of Montana Western’s 3,196.5 points.
Sophomore Bubba Boots is leading the team with top placings in several events, virtually putting together triple doubles the way basketball star Russell Westbrook does.
Boots is so far ahead in the all-around standings his 1,128 points is nearly double the second-place cowboy. And that is teammate Caleb McMillan with 665 points. Also, Trapper Wes Mann ranks third with 635 points.
So Northwest cowboys are holding down the top three positions – gold, silver and bronze – in the nine-team region.
“It has never happened since I’ve been coaching,” said Nose of his 17-year tenure.
Nose said the last time the Trappers captured the Big Sky title was 2006 and he would love to see the team finish on top again more than a decade later.
“It’s been a long haul,” Nose said.
Boots ranks first in steer wrestling, second in tie-down roping and second among team-roping headers. It was joked that Boots must be a slacker because he is not riding bulls too.
“He wants to ride bulls,” Nose said. “I won’t let him.”
For that matter, Nose doesn’t need Boots in that event. McMillan stands third in bull riding and Jake Davis is fifth. McMillan is also rated fourth in tie-down roping and 14th as a heeler in team roping.
Mann is third among team roping headers and fifth in saddle bronc riding.
Other Trappers in the regional rankings are: Matthew Williams, second as a heeler and 12th in tie-down roping; Emilio Reyna, fourth as a heeler; Orrin Ouska, 8th in bareback riding and Austin Cutler, tied for 12th in saddle bronc.
Nose said the team used the break from competition between fall and spring to its advantage.
“We practiced hard,” he said.
Overall, the Northwest women are sixth in the region. The Lady Trappers were eighth and last in the first Montana State rodeo, but moved into third with much better performances in the second one.
“The women had a hard time in the first rodeo,” Nose said. “The women are a work in progress.”
In the season standings, Sierra Lyons is ranked sixth in goat tying and Brooke Winward is tied for 14th in breakaway roping.
In the improved showing at the second Montana State rodeo Lyons took third in the all-around, third in goat tying and sixth in breakaway roping. Winward was third in breakaway.
Now the challenge for the Northwest men is to hold the lead in the regional standings.
“I’m very excited,” Nose said.