Seven McNeese State University rodeo members have earned spots in the 70th College National Finals Rodeo scheduled June 8-16 in Casper, Wyoming. Qualifiers are: Mia Manzanares, Opelousas, goat tying and breakaway roping; Gabe Soileau, Bunkie, steer wrestling; Remey Parrot, Mamou, steer wrestling; Zach Jongbloed, Iowa, steer wrestling and tie down roping; Cole Frey, Morganza, tie down roping and team roping header; Ryder Sanford, Sulphur, saddle bronc riding; and Colton Onyett, Sutter, California, bareback riding.
Contestants compete all year in one of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s 11 regions for a chance to rope or ride at the CNFR. McNeese competes in the southern region.
Currently, the McNeese men’s rodeo team is ranked No. 10 nationally while the McNeese women’s rodeo team is ranked No. 19.
“This could be the strongest men’s team I’ve taken to nationals,” said Coach Browning. “And Mia is also a strong contender this year. I am so proud of these student-athletes.”
Last year, Frey won the CNFR men’s all-around championship. He and Manzanares are making their third appearances while Soileau is making his second appearance at nationals.
Nationally, Manzanares is ranked No. 1 in breakaway roping, No. 3 in women’s all-round standings and No. 7 in goat tying. In the southern region, she is No. 1 in all three of these categories.
Frey and Jongbloed are both ranked in the Top 25 in the men’s all-around national standings.
Nationally, in steer wrestling, Soileau is ranked No. 10 and Jongbloed is No. 11, while in the southern region, Soileau is No. 1, Jongbloed is No. 2 and Parrot is No. 4.
In tie down roping, Frey is currently ranked No. 18 nationally while in the southern region he is No. 2 and Jongbloed is No. 3.
In saddle bronc riding, Sanford ranks in the Top 25 nationally and No. 3 in the southern region.
In bareback riding, Onyett is No. 4 in the southern region.
McNeese intercollegiate rodeo began in 1947 and this is the 27th consecutive year that McNeese has sent students to the national championship finals.
The NIRA crowns both individual event and team champions. Over 400 students from more than 100 universities and colleges will compete at this year’s competition.