The crowd at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., got to see something Monday nobody else has since the late 1970s: a Garden City Community College team roping duo.
The Broncbuster pair of Tucker McClain and Gunnar Stapleton finished second in the Central Plains region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, qualifying them for nationals.
But Monday’s run at the Casper Events Center did not go as well as hoped, with McClain roping the steer’s head, but Stapleton missing the heels, leaving the duo with a no score for the first of three runs this week.
“The steers are pretty tough,” GCCC head coach Jim Boy Hash said. “They’re bigger, stronger. They’re fairly fresh and they run hard. They’re fast. And the head start (for the steer) is bigger than they’re used to.”
All of that added up to a missed opportunity for the Broncbusters. But normally, a no score would essentially eliminate a team from reaching the short-go (final race), but the steers were too tough a match for more than half the field — 29 of the 48 teams recorded a no score.
That implies that the next couple of attempts for team ropers may result in a few more no scores for teams, giving the Busters some hope to make the short-go.
“If they come back and get a good time on their next two (attempts), they got a chance (to make the short-go),” Hash said.
Hash did say, though, that the national champion team ropers likely will rope all four of their steers.
Their next chance comes in the Tuesday slack portion of the finals, while their third long-go attempt will be during Thursday’s featured performance.
Cole White of Blue Mountain Community College and Calgary Smith of Walla Walla Community College roped their steer in 5.7 seconds to lead the field by nearly a full second.
Northwestern Oklahoma State’s Maverick Harper and Tanner Nall — who finished in first in the Central Plains Region — recorded a 6.8-second run and sit in a tie for fourth after Monday.
Sloan Smith (Southwest Oklahoma State) and Luke Meier (Panhandle State) — who took the third and final qualifying spot in the Central Plains Region — roped their steer in 12.6 seconds, and sit in 15th.