UMW's Lahaye 5th in CNFR bulldoggin'

Montana Western’s Cody Lahaye jumps a steer at the College National Finals Rodeo en route to a fifth place finish in the event. CNFR photo by Dan Hubbell


Kody Lahaye grabbed fifth in the steer wrestling to highlight the efforts of the University of Montana Western Rodeo Team at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, Wyoming last week.

The start of the CNFR seemed to promise great things for the Bulldog team. After the first round of the 65th annual CNFR, every member of the men’s and women’s Montana Western rodeo team had posted a qualifying ride or time.

“I was tickled to see us do so well in the national spotlight after the first round,” said Montana Western Head Coach Olie Else. “But it was short lived as I saw some of our team having some rough go’s in the second go around.”

Western did have a rough go, in general, as a number of things that could go wrong for a cowboy did. Megan Crist, who was sitting sixth after the first go with a 6.5 in goat tying, knew she had to be fast on the second to have a hope to win the event and was shooting for a run in the five-second range when she fell and hit the ground hard.

“I have been around Megan for all these years now, and I have never once seen her fall,” said Coach Else. “She was pretty beat up, and there is no doubt that it affected her Finals.”

Hailey Hamlin was sitting great in the breakaway roping going into her third run. She had made a run of 4.3 on the first day and in the second go she improved on that time with a 3.6. But in her third run she ended up catching with an illegal head catch and just as fast as she had been all weekend, her hopes for this CNFR were over.

Chase Redfield rode all three of his bareback horses, but unfortunately for him he drew ones that didn’t help him out any in his scores. Redfield went 63, 65, and 58 on his three rides. 

Jade Gardner tied all three calves on the weekend, going 12.9, 10.5 and 12.4 to place 17th in the event at the CNFR.

The team roping team of Kelsey Hanson and Casey Waldhauser both caught on the first day for a time of 14.5, but struggled in their next two attempts, coming up with no time in each go. 

Luke Gee started the week out with a 69.5 ride on his bull, but struggled to stick another ride and ended up 16th. 

“You have to have three good runs down there to make it stick,” commented Coach Else. “There are 250 kids there from around the region, and you can’t have a bad run and still be a top finisher.”

Lahaye got back in the short go and was able to get a 7.0 steer wrestling run to move him up to fifth place and All-American status. A junior this season, Layaye was a critical part of this team, serving not only a good example of how to get it done in the dirt, but also as the Western club president and team captain.

In the final team standings, the UMW men were tied for 36th with 75 points, all scored by Lahaye, while the women were 29th with 30 points scored by Crist.

Olie will have to say goodbye to six seniors—Megan Crist, Hailey Hamlin, Hannah Sharon, Kelsey Hanson, Drew Baker and Wyatt Adler—from this year’s team, as their intercollegiate careers come to an end.

”It is hard to watch some of your seniors have a tough go at things, after all you have seen them put into it,” said Coach Else. 

“Some of them are going to be staying around, but others will be headed down the road where I will bump into them at a rodeo somewhere.”