After a busy spring that saw the Northwest College men’s rodeo team win the Big Sky Region by the slimmest of margins over Montana State University, the Trappers have qualified six cowboys for …
After a busy spring that saw the Northwest College men’s rodeo team win the Big Sky Region by the slimmest of margins over Montana State University, the Trappers have qualified six cowboys for the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper next week.
“That was a little nerve-wracking,” NWC head coach Del Nose said of the Trappers’ 6,100 to 6,011 point differential over MSU to win the Big Sky. “I thought we lost it by 30, and we ended up winning by 89. It came down to the final rodeo for us.”
With the regular season in the books, the Trappers qualified six for the CNFR, including Caleb McMillan (all-around), Clancy Glenn (saddle bronc), Will Griffel (tie down, team roping), Colten Fisher (team roping), Justin Ketzenberg (bull riding) and Keaton Martz (bull riding, team roping).
Also scheduled to compete in his third CNFR is Powell native Bryce Bott, who qualified in tie down roping for Montana State. A 4.0 student, Bott graduated MSU in May and was selected as the 2019 MSU Agricultural Student of the Year. His first two CNFRs were as a member of the Casper College rodeo team.
McMillan won the men’s all-around in the Big Sky Region, and heads into the CNFR ranked No. 1 in the nation. Glenn was fourth in the Big Sky in saddle bronc, while Ketzenberg and Martz finished third and fifth in bull riding, respectively. The team of Griffel and Fisher was second in team roping.
Expectations are high for the team heading into the CNFR, and Nose said everyone is healthy and excited to get started. As a coach, however, Nose said he’ll stay cautiously optimistic; he knows from experience that anything can happen, and usually does.
“Everyone’s doing pretty good and feeling pretty healthy,” he said. “The deal is, the last time I had this good of a team, we went in there thinking we were going to go in and kick [butt] and take names. It ended up being a very humbling experience, where instead of winning first we placed fourth.”
“I don’t want to speculate,” Nose said of how the team will perform this year. “If these guys have a good rodeo and good rounds, they’ll do good. But there are a lot of variables there. We’ll just see what happens.”
As a favorite in the all-around, McMillan is going to have his work cut out for him, especially in the bull riding, according to Nose.
“Bull riding is going to be tough. Them bulls are rank,” Nose said. “But I got Will [Griffel] and Colten [Fisher], and we hope the right ones show up, that they can rope good and do good. Clancy [Glenn], he’s a diamond in the rough, and the two bull riders [Ketzenberg and Martz] will be on the same page. If they get tapped, they’re gonna ride.”
At Nose’s insistence, all six of the Trappers have been competing in amateur rodeos since the semester ended in an effort to keep a competitive edge.
“I told those guys to get to those rodeos, all the competitive events you can get to,” he said. “You want to keep sharp. And hopefully, they’ll be down here in the next day or two and rope some steers and get on some bulls at the Cody Nite Rodeo.”
NWC has never had an all-around national champion, and Nose would like to see that change with McMillan. It will be the second time in as many years that McMillan has entered the CNFR ranked first in the all-around.
“He [McMillan] was ranked first in the nation last year, then he had some tough luck and broke some barriers in the calf roping, and that cost him his all-around bid,” Nose said. “In the bull riding, he rode one out of four, and that ain’t going to help him any. But it’s a new year, and he’s going in strong in bull riding, broncs and calf roping.”
The CNFR begins Sunday and continues until Saturday, June 15 at the Events Center in Casper.