Rodeo team members representing McNeese State University at the 67th College National Finals Rodeo June 14-20 in Casper, Wyo., are from left: Kirsten Smith,McKenzie Cooper, Bobby Abernathy, Paige Plush, Lauren Hansen and Trace Porter.
(May 20, 2015) Six McNeese State University rodeo team members have qualified for the 67th College National Finals Rodeo to he held June 14-20 in Casper, Wyo.
Four women and two men will represent McNeese in this year’s national competition.
The women’s team includes: McKenzie Cooper, DeQuincy, breakaway roping; Lauren Hansen, Sulphur, goat tying; Paige Plush, Merryville, breakaway roping; and Kirsten Smith, St. Francisville, goat tying and breakaway roping. The men’s team includes: Bobby Abernathy, Athens, Ala., tie down roping; and Trace Porter, Leesville, team roper heeler.
Hansen and Smith are making their third appearances while Abernathy is making his second appearance at the CNFR.
McNeese intercollegiate rodeo began in 1947 and is currently the only intercollegiate rodeo team in Louisiana. This is the 24th consecutive year that McNeese has sent student to the national championship finals.
“Our teams are experienced. I know that our students are going to be strong contenders at this year’s nationals,” said Justin Browning, rodeo coach.
The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association crowns both individual event and team champions. 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 very well this season. The women’s team finished in first placed in the region, while the men’s team finished in third place.
Smith won the women’s all-around championship and Cooper came in third. Ike Fontenot, Ville Platte, placed third in the men’s all-around championship, while Abernathy placed fifth.
In the breakaway roping competition, McNeese swept the event with Cooper placing first, Plush placing second and Smith placing third.
In goat tying, Hansen won the championship, Smith came in second, Kyla Foster, Sweetlake, came in fourth and Cooper came in eighth.
In tie down calf roping, Abernathy came in second, while Fontenot came in fourth. In steer wrestling, Abernathy came in eighth.
In team roping heeler, Porter came in third, while in team roping header, Fontenot came in fourth.
Brant Brummett, Reed, Mo., was fourth in saddle bronc riding and Fontenot was eighth.
In bareback riding, Jesse Anderson, Unionville, Mo., finished in sixth place.
Going into the national competition in Wyoming, the women’s team is ranked ninth in the nation and the men’s team is ranked 19th.
In goat tying, Hansen is ranked fifth in the nation and Smith is ranked ninth, while Cooper and Plush are ranked in the top 25 in the breakaway roping category.
Abernathy is ranked in the top 25 in tie down roping.