UMW men 2nd in Big Sky Region

By 
J.P. Plutt
Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The University of Montana Western men exploded for 760 team points to dominate Montana State, the Big Sky Region champion and runner-up at the Miles City Spring Rodeo on Thursday and Friday, for the rodeo championship. The win secured second place in the final region standings for the Bulldogs and ensures that Western will take an entire men’s team to Casper, Wyoming for the College National Finals Rodeo this summer. The Bobcats, the runaway winners of the year-long title, scored 390 team points at Miles City for second place.

“The men had a good weekend,” said first-year UMW coach J.T. Robbins. “It was a good way to end the season. The men pulled it together at the end and it was fun to win the rodeo.”

The big weekend helped Western maintain a safe distance between second place and challenges through the spring from Northwest College and Miles Community College. MSU won the region with 5,879.5 team points and Western followed in second with 3,541.5. Northwest of Powell, Wyo., totaled 2,984 and Miles had 2,912.5.

For Western, there were saddles to be won at Miles City, a rodeo that during the spring had been snowed out and rescheduled for graduation weekend. The event was held on Thursday and Friday so that seniors that wanted to attend their graduation could walk and accept their diplomas in person. Trevor Kay claimed the Big Sky Region bareback riding saddle with a dominating margin, hitting for 980 points to runner-up Kaleb Norstrom of MSU at 690. Bryce Harrison held on for the Big Sky Region steer wrestling title with 760 points, ahead of runner-up Logan Beattie of MSU.

Western’s Edward Ramirez closed strong to move into second place in the Big Sky Region standings of tie down roping. Ramirez and Jake Cerini finished ninth in team roping.

Western saddle bronc rider Carson Klingler finished fourth in the saddle bronc riding final standings. Klingler, the two region champions Kay and Harrison, Ramirez and Cerini will make up Western’s CNFR team according to Robbins.

Steer wrestlers Ethan Stensrud and Dillon’s T.J. Sigman finished the spring strong in steer wrestling moved into the top 11 of the final standings. Stensrud finished third in the average at Miles City and moved to 11th in the final standings, and Sigman, a freshman, placed fifth in the average and 8th in the final standings.

As a team at Miles City, Ramirez scored 210 points, Trevor Kay and Ethan Stensrud scored 180 points each, Klingler added 120 points and Harrison totaled 70 points though not in his specialty. He had 60 points in tie down roping and 10 points in team roping.

The spring did not end on a real high note for the UMW women. Ryland Lufkin, a top breakaway roper, broke her ankle in goat tying at Bozeman, the first rodeo of the spring, and struggled down the stretch while still competing in breakaway. McKenna Schroeder was coming on in barrel racing and goat tying but a sprained ankle slowed her progress. It didn’t click for CNFR veteran Emmy Ilgen, who walked in graduation Saturday,

Western slid to third place in the final Big Sky Region standing behind the dominant MSU Bobcats, the defending CNFR team champions, and MSU-Northern. MSU ended the year with 3,653.83 points, MSU-Northern with 2,406 and Western with 1,938.83. The top two teams advance to the CNFR as well as the top three in each event.

According to coach Robbins, Western’s only women’s competitor to advance to the CNFR will be Kacee Rogers who placed second in the final Big Sky Region standings behind MSU’s Paige Rasmussen in goat tying.

The final unofficial standings show Western’s Harley Beasley third in breakaway roping which would qualify her for the CNFR, but Robbins is wary that the standings might change when they become final.

Mikenna Schauer won the women’s Big Sky Region all around title to lead MSU-N into the slot normally occupied by UMW.

“Mikenna is a really good hand from Canada,” said Robbins. She ropes outstanding and it is good to have a lot of talent in the region. It will make us all better in the long run.”

MSU senior Hailey Garrison from Glen, a BCHS graduate, finished second in the women’s all around off an incredible year. A member of the defending national championship team, Garrison will give it one more CNFR try.

“Hailey is a tremendous hand,” said Robbins. “I really enjoyed watching her and I sure wish she had red and black on. Hailey has had a tremendous rodeo career and I’m glad she gets to end it in Casper.”

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