In the final rodeo of Garden City Community College’s season, the women provided a glimpse of a bright future, and the men’s roping team of Tucker McClain and Gunnar Stapleton qualified for nationals, something 18-year head coach Jim Boy Hash has never had on one of his previous teams.
McClain and Stapleton finished seventh over the weekend at Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Okla., but it was good enough to move up to second place in the Central Plains Region season standings — the top three spots qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo.
“They did what I told them to do, which was go out and get the first one roped, just be solid, and put the pressure on the other teams,” Hash said of the duo’s ride in the long-go.
McClain and Stapleton got the steer roped in a solid 9 seconds, and advanced to the short-go. Because of their long-go placement, McClain and Stapleton wrapped up the nationals qualification, and went for the win in the short-go, but missed the rope. Regardless, they took seventh in the average standings and qualified for nationals — the first under Hash.
“They’re dang sure the first team of ropers since I’ve been here,” Hash said, “and they’re quite capable of going up there and doing well.”
The College National Finals Rodeo is in Casper, Wyo., on June 8 to 16.
Meanwhile, the women’s side — thanks to barrel racer Kenzie Jones — scored team points in the fourth consecutive rodeo, after failing to do so in the first six rodeos of the year. Jones qualified for the short-go with an eighth-place ride in barrel racing, and then tied for the top time in the short-go and finished second in the average (17.79 seconds per her two rides).
“It always takes awhile to figure some things out, settle down and just go out and compete,” Hash said of his young women Busters. “The last four rodeos, they started clicking.”
Jones, Ambree Welsh — who took eighth in the average in goat tying in Garden City in early April — are expected to return for the Busters, as well as potentially a couple of others, Hash said.
Also in Goodwell over the weekend, Ean Price tied for second (9.7) in the steer wrestling average and Luke Sullivan was fifth in the bull riding long-go, before being bucked in the short-go.