CHEYENNE – Jhet Murphy spent the past year trying to get a young horse ready to compete in college rodeos.
After Sunday’s final round of the Shawn Dubie Memorial Rodeo, it’s safe to say the Laramie County Community College steer wrestler’s horse is ready.
Murphy stopped the clock in 7.4 seconds to win the title at Frontier Park Arena with a two-run time of 15 seconds. His final run was the fastest of the rodeo. He claimed the championship buckle by more than three seconds.
Murphy had the second-fastest time entering the finals at 7.6 seconds. Wyoming’s Chadron Coffield and Seth Peterson were tied at 7.5 heading into the finals. Murphy was excited about the steer he drew for the short go because it head earned a share of the first round win.
“My hazer did a great job, and I got two great goes this weekend,” the Helena, Montana, product said. “I told myself to slow down and not try to do anything special. I was already going fast, I just needed to do everything right.”
Cheyenne Frontier Days gives steers a 30-foot head start, while most rodeos have a 10-foot score line. LCCC split the difference for Shawn Dubie, and used a 20-foot score.
“You have to see them all the way out of the chute and run them down,” Murphy said. “Most places, you’re catching them about 40 feet from the box. This weekend, we were catching them almost 150 feet out. You have to move your horse around and be able to ride to them.”
Having the fastest time of the first round meant Payton Feydor went last during the finals. She got to watch every other cowgirl make their run. All but one of them missed.
Feydor clocked in at 5.5 seconds during the finals, and finished at 9.4 seconds on two runs. Wyoming’s Brandy Schaak placed second at 9.9 seconds.
“I wanted to make sure I had a good start and just got it caught,” said Feydor, who is from Elko, Nevada. “I love being able to go last because I know what I have to do. When I was in the last (performance) of the first round, I knew I had to be less than 5.4 to make the cut.
“So I went out there and made a great run. Then, I knew I just had to score sharp and get it caught. I played it pretty safe and got it roped.”
Donny Proffit’s bareback riding score made the rough dismount worth it.
The University of Wyoming cowboy scored 80 points during the final round before landing on his stomach after doing a backflip when he was thrown from his horse after eight-second horn.
“That’s not the way you want the ride to end, but at least I made the whistle. I would have been mad about that dismount if I hadn’t made the whistle,” said Proffit, who hails from Kemmerer.
Proffit’s 80-point ride in the finals gave him 157 points on two rides and the championship. Casper College’s Ethan Mazurenko was second with 154.
Proffit entered the final round with a four-point advantage, and was excited about the horse he drew.
“Other guys have been 84 points on it, so I knew I had enough horse to get me there,” Proffit said. “I knew I just had to do my job. She was strong, so I just kept gassing it and getting my feet to the front.”
Saddle bronc riding
Sheridan College’s Kade Bruno was familiar with the horse he drew during Sunday’s finals. He had seen it at a professional rodeo in Afton, Wyoming, and considered that ride a missed opportunity.
“I kind of missed her out, and then I missed two or three jumps right at the beginning and didn’t set it up too well,” Bruno said.
Bruno got a measure of redemption Sunday, scoring 77 points to win the aggregate title with 156 on two rides.
“She is a really honest horse that gives the same trip just about every time,” said the sophomore from Challis, Idaho, who transferred from Northwest College during the off-season. “I knew I needed to capitalize on her. I got her set out and she was really good right in front of the box.”
Casper College’s Quinten Taylor finished second with 154 points after netting 76 during the finals.
Chadron Coffield knew he had some margin for error after watching only four ropers post successful runs Sunday. That’s why the UW cowboy didn’t panic when he had to wait for his calf to stand back up to be flanked.
Coffield posted a time of 14.8 seconds to finish with a winning time of 25.3 on two runs.
“I was trying to keep him on his feet, but that’s exactly what I did not do. It still ended up in my favor,” said Coffield, who also won tie-down at the season-opening Chadron State College rodeo. “All the stars lined up, and I was able to make a smooth run after that.
“I thought maybe I would be a little faster on him, but I can’t complain about what I got.”
UW’s Faith Hoffman won goat tying at 18.4 seconds. She had the fastest times of both the first and final go-rounds.
Colorado State’s Lake Mehalic also turned in the two fastest barrel racing times of the rodeo, and won in 35.79 seconds. She finished the cloverleaf patter in 17.92 seconds during the finals.
Bull riders went 0 for 6 during the finals after Sheridan’s Wyatt Phelps was tossed from his re-ride. UW’s Dylan Grant captured the title by virtue of his 76-point ride during the first round.
Casper College’s Wheaton Williams and Cody Lansing won team roping at 17.8 seconds.