Sitting in sixth place after the opening round of the tie down roping competition, Bryce Bott was feeling good about his chances in his third and final appearance at the College National Finals …
Sitting in sixth place after the opening round of the tie down roping competition, Bryce Bott was feeling good about his chances in his third and final appearance at the College National Finals Rodeo.
“I started off the week strong; I did good on my first one,” Bott said.
But a disastrous second round threatened to derail the Powell High School and Montana State graduate’s dream in Casper last week. A missed back leg resulted in a 17-second run and dropped him from sixth place to 19th; only the top 12 in average make it to the short (final round). He would need a strong run in the third go to get back in the hunt.
“In the second round, I figured the back leg on my calf, tied him in 17 [seconds],” Bott said. “That moved me down in the average quite a ways, but I didn’t panic. I knew I was long on that second one, but I knew if I could come back and make a couple of good runs, I’d still have a chance to make the short round.”
He did just that, posting a time of 10.4 seconds in the third round, good for ninth place in the round and 11th overall — just making Saturday’s short round. In his final run, Bott posted another 10.4 second performance, placing him fifth for the round and sixth overall in the nation.
Not a bad way to end your collegiate career, though to ask him, he might convince you otherwise.
“It’s obviously good to end up sixth in the nation,” he said. “It might sound weird, but I was a little disappointed — I wanted to be higher. But I’m also happy with how I ended up.”
Prior to the start of the CNFR, Bott had mentioned that one of the things he likes most about the sport is the camaraderie between competitors; a willingness to help each other out in a time of need. Nowhere was that more apparent than in between the third round and the short round, when he decided to make a horse change.
“My horse didn’t help me a whole lot on the third round, so I made a change for the short round, just to give myself a better chance,” he explained. “A friend of mine let me jump right on his horse without hesitation. Doing that gave me a good chance in the short round. It is definitely my favorite part about rodeo: People are so willing to help you if you need it.”
Bott had a great support system with him at the CNFR in the form of family, friends and his MSU teammates.
“It’s great to have family down there, always have someone that’s looking out for you, making sure you have everything you need,” he said. “My coach and my teammates were really good. They helped remind me not to get down after I had that bad run and to just keep going. Everybody was real supportive, and everybody believed in me, told me I could do it. That was a big part in me bouncing back and making it into the short round.”
With his collegiate career now at an end, Bott said what he’ll take away from the experience is the knowledge that he can compete at a high level. He’ll continue to rodeo this summer on the pro circuit, and see where his career goes from there.
“I’ll continue to rodeo and always try to get better,” he said.
Bott will compete in the PRCA-sanctioned Thermopolis Cowboy Rendezvous on Friday and is set to head to Red Lodge for a July 3 competition.
“We’ll be pretty busy this summer,” he said.