With no chance to practice back home in Nebraska because of persistent flooding this spring, University of Wyoming Cowgirl Rachael Calvo didn’t know what to expect on her first barrel racing run Monday at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper.
It was like she had been practicing all along.
Her 14.38-second time in the first round of barrel racing put the Bassett, Neb., sophomore into second place overall at the weeklong CNFR. The time caught her completely by surprise, she admitted.
“We have been struggling all spring with flooding in Nebraska, so I haven’t been able to run my horse since the last college rodeo in late April,” Calvo said. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to go today. I was just going for it, and I was pretty surprised because my horse did so good without running for so long.”
Calvo, who won the Central Rocky Mountain Region barrel racing title this past season, had to wait nearly 45 minutes from the beginning of the barrel racing event, which began at 7 a.m. Casper College’s Mikayla Seely set the pace early as the first rider up, recording a 14.32, which held up through all 45 barrel racers.
As the second-to-last rider during the slack round’s opening event, Calvo came through with her blazing run on Stella, her $2,000 barrel racing horse she bought at a bull sale when she was a high school student.
“I felt pretty good this morning with nothing to lose,” Calvo said. “I’m just going for it, and am going to stick my game plan, which I usually do.”
Calvo’s efforts helped move the Cowgirls into sixth place in the interim team standings — not all events have been completed through two full rounds of competition. The Cowgirls are splitting sixth place with Casper College at 80 points each, while New Mexico State University leads the women’s standings with 120 points.
The UW men have yet to score team points after one full day of competition. Panhandle State University (Goodwell, Okla.) leads the men’s interim standings with 363 points.
Qualifying for his third CNFR — his first for UW after transferring from Cochise Community College in Sierra Vista, Ariz. — Ty Everson moved into the steer wrestling top 10 after stopping the clock in 5.8 seconds.
Sitting ninth overall after round one of steer wrestling, the UW junior bulldogger said he was pleased with his first attempt.
“It was a good run. I knew that the steers were going to run hard, and I knew I needed to get a good start. I didn’t want to be late getting out of the box,” he said. “I got a good catch, but my feet got kind of stuck in the ground. I had to backpedal a little bit and had to hustle to turn him over.”
After doing “no good” in his first two previous finals, Everson is looking to do better this week. He caught his first steer as a freshman and won the third round last season, but “other than that, nothing,” he said.
Results of the remaining UW team members from Monday’s slack were:
— Team ropers Caden Camp and JC Flake came up short in the opening round. Camp, a Belgrade, Mont., freshman, managed to catch the steer’s horns, but Flake, a Mesa, Ariz., senior, was unable to rope the heels.
— Camp’s steer got away from him early, making a straight shot down the arena, outrunning the UW freshman’s horse and also his hazer. He had no chance at an attempt to turn the steer in the opening round of bulldogging.
— Seth Peterson had a tough break in his opening tie down roping run. The Minot, N.D., junior broke the barrier coming out of the box for a 10-second penalty, leaving him with a 19.8-second time. The added seconds kept Peterson out of the top six in the event and left him in 29th place.
— Later in the morning, Peterson managed to turn his steer in 6.8 seconds to put him in contention. He is among the top 13 bulldoggers after the first go. Peterson won the region’s all-around title this past season.
— Denton Shaw, a Lusk senior, and partner Cooper White of Gillette College had a no time on their first head in the team roping competition when White’s loop skipped over the top of the steer’s horns.
— Jase Staudt, a Nathrop, Colo., junior, had a time of 12.7 seconds in tie down roping after he struggled gaining control of the calf when he lifted it off the ground for his tie. Staudt is tied for 19th after the first round.
— Teisha Coffield began her goat tying run with a time of 7.1 seconds. She had a fast, clean dismount, but the goat took a hard swing to the left before the Yuma, Colo., senior recovered to throw the goat down for a quick tie of the three legs. She is sitting 29th after the first round.
— Kelsey Lensegrav’s horse brushed up against the first barrel, slowing her just a bit, as the Interior, S.D., sophomore recorded a time of 14.71 seconds in the opening round of barrel racing. She is sitting 10th in the event.