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McNeese Sends Seven to National Finals Rodeo

McNeese Sends Seven to National Finals Rodeo

Rodeo team members representing McNeese State University at the 66th College National Finals Rodeo June 15-21 in Casper, Wyo., are from left: Kyla Foster, rodeo coach Justin Browning, Kirsten Smith, Jack Frey, Chelsea Carroll, Jonathan Torres, Lauren Hansen and Chad Rutherford.

(May 28, 2014) Seven McNeese State University men's and women's rodeo team members have qualified for the 66th College National Finals Rodeo to be held June 15-21 in Casper, Wyo.

Four women and three men will represent McNeese in this year's national competition.

The women's team includes: Chelsea Carroll, Opelousas, breakaway roping and goat tying; Kyla Foster, Sweetlake, breakaway roping; Lauren Hansen, Sulphur, goat tying; and Kirsten Smith, St. Francisville, breakaway roping and goat tying. The men's team includes: Jack Frey, Crawfordsville, Ind., bull riding; Chad Rutherford, Itasca, Texas, bareback riding; and Jonathan Torres, Ocala, Fla., team roper heeler.

Hansen, Rutherford and Smith are making their second appearances, Carroll is making her third appearance while Foster and Torres are making their fourth appearances at the CNFR.

McNeese intercollegiate rodeo began in 1947 and remains the only collegiate rodeo team in Louisiana. This is the 23rd consecutive year that McNeese has sent students to the national championship finals. "Our teams are experienced. I know that both the men's and women's teams are once again going to be strong contenders at this year's nationals," said Justin Browning, rodeo coach.

The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association crowns individual event champions and national champions for both men's and women's teams. Over 400 students from more than 100 universities and colleges will compete in this year's event.

Contestants compete all year in one of the NIRA's 11 regions for a chance to rope or ride at the CNFR. McNeese competes in the Southern Region and did well this season.

The women's team finished in first place in the region, while the men's team finished in third place.
    
Carroll won the women's all-around championship and Smith won the reserve women's all-around championship.
           
In the goat tying competition, McNeese swept the event with Smith placing first, Carroll placing second and Hansen placing third.
           
In the bareback riding, Rutherford won the championship.
           
In breakaway roping, Carroll placed second and Foster came in third place.
           
In team roping heelers, Torres came in third. 
           
In the bull riding competition, Frey finished in third place.

For the final rodeo competition of the season at Wharton County Junior College in Texas, the women's team finished in first place, while the men's team finished in second place.

Smith won the women's all-around competition, while Billy Morian, Jasper, Texas, was the reserve men's all-around champion.
           
In the bareback riding, Rutherford won the championship.
           
In the goat tying competition, Carroll placed first, while Smith placed second.

In breakaway roping, Ashley Goforth, Azle, Texas, took first place while Smith came in third place.