A Mesalands Community College rodeo team member competed in the team roping event at the 2016 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming, finishing 14th in the nation.
Kyle Jurney, of Eunice, competed at the CNFR with Bobby Flores (heeler) from Cochise on June 12 – 18 at the Casper Event Center.
“We didn’t qualify as many student-athletes for the college finals as we wanted to, or as many as we have in the past. But that’s OK,” said Mesalands rodeo coach Tim Abbott. “Just the fact to have any one of our student-athletes competing at the college finals is a pretty outstanding accomplishment. You are talking about the top three in each event and the top five percent student athletes of college rodeo, across the country.”
Abbott said Jurney and Flores had never competed together prior to the college finals. He said their situation was unique and they made the best of it. The team ropers were sitting in sixth place halfway through the competition. After that, they had a little trouble in this event, which brought them to 14th in the nation in the team roping.
“Next year, they both plan on returning to the college finals and even though they will be going to different colleges, they are going to rope together,” Abbott said. “So I think a new partnership was formed there. They are bound and determined to have another chance at the national title together next year.”
Abbott said he is preparing for the 2016-2017 season for the Grand Canyon Region. He plans to have about 35-40 student-athletes on the Mesalands team, with 22 returning members and 15 new members on the team. He will have team members from across the nation, including Arizona, New England, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington.
“It’s always interesting and exciting about the number of different regions of the country we draw from,” Abbott said. “It’s just amazing to me how a broad of a net this college can cater to because we have rodeo students from all points of the country.”
Abbott also was selected to serve as regional faculty director on the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association board of directors.
Abbott’s duties will include coordinating NIRA bylaws and rules with college administration, evaluating student-athletes’ NIRA eligibility and act as advisor to NIRA’s regional governing board.
Mesalands rodeo team will play host to the 9th Annual Mesalands Intercollegiate Fall Rodeo on October 14-15, at the Quay County Rodeo Arena.