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June 12, 2012 9:04 am

Trappers struggle early at CNFR

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Jessica Ehlers receives NWC’s only score on opening night

If the Northwest College Trappers are going to make a splash at this year’s College National Finals Rodeo, they will have to come from behind to do it. Opening night of the 2012 CNFR saw four Trappers compete, but only one was able to put a score on the board.

Jessica Ehlers’ time of 3.2 seconds in the first go of breakaway roping was good enough to tie her for 14th place coming out of the first go. Ehlers was scheduled to have Monday off before taking her second run today (Tuesday) and her third run on Wednesday.

Ehlers’ teammate Heather Knerr was one of 20 breakaway ropers to receive a no-time in Sunday’s opening round. With 36 other competitors able to put a time in the books, Knerr’s hopes of an appearance in this weekend’s short-go might already be in deep trouble. Knerr was scheduled to take her second run on Monday after the paper went to press. She won’t get her third round attempt until Friday.

Also in trouble are the Trappers’ two roughstock competitors at this year’s CNFR. Bareback rider Clinton Griffis and bull rider Tyler Owens both failed to make the eight second buzzer and took a no score for round one.

Owens had plenty of company in that category as only 10 of 37 bull riders recorded scores in round one, meaning strong rides in rounds two and three might be enough to earn a spot in the short go still. Owens was scheduled to be back in the chute Monday for his second ride. His third round will take place Thursday.

For Griffis, the news is a bit more dire as 26 of the 43 bareback riders were able to turn in qualified rides. Griffis rides today (Tuesday) in round two and Friday in round three and could be facing an uphill battle.

Two members of the Trappers’ rodeo delegation weren’t scheduled to compete on opening night. For barrel racer Cheyenne Saltsman and goat tying specialist Steffani Hofrichter, the CNFR got underway on Monday. Knerr was also scheduled to compete in round one of the goat tying competition on Monday.

None of those three cowgirls had taken their turns in the Casper Events Center arena by the time Tuesday’s paper went to press.

This is the first time in program history the Trapper women have qualified as a team to the CNFR.

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