Ethan Lesiak, of Clarks, rides a bull at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. Lesiak finished the season 12th in the nation. (Photo courtesy of Hubbell Photos).
The dust has settled and the results are in for four members of the Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team.
Rowdy Moon, of Sargent; Trey Engel, of Silver Creek; Ethan Lesiak, of Clarks, and Reece Weber, of Valentine, competed at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. June 12-18.
Lesiak finished 12th in the nation in the bull riding, despite bucking off in both the first and second go-rounds. He scored 77 points in the third go-round.
"A Top 12 finish in the nation – that's pretty good," said Dustin Elliott, MPCC Rodeo Team rough stock coach. "That's going up against every college in the nation that has rodeo, not just junior colleges."
Engel, who also competes in bull riding, didn't make a qualified ride. He still ended up 21st in the standings, and Elliott believes the hard luck was a good thing.
"Trey drew some good bulls and gained a lot of experience by being there," said Elliott. "I'm just going to say, 'Look out,' because those kind of results fire him up – they don't defeat him. Now, he can come back motivated and set a goal."
Weber is sitting 28th in the nation in team roping. He and his partner had a time of 6.7 in go-round one, a time of 24.7 in go-round two and no score in the third go-round.
"Reece had a good run in round one," said Garrett Nokes, timed event coach for the MPCC Rodeo Team. "Second run, his heeler got behind. Reece turned the steer faster than he even thought he was going to, and it caught the heeler off guard. In a small arena, you don't have time to make adjustments."
Nokes said mistakes happen. He doesn't fault either Weber or the heeler for doing their best.
"Reece missed his third steer, but it was go for broke because they were out of the average," said Nokes. "There were some good runs, and he was trying to be right there with them. You expose yourself to a lot of error when you do that, but he showed he deserved to be there. He can rope with anyone, and I'm sure he will have another chance at nationals next year."
Rowdy Moon, of Sargent, rides a bronc at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. He scored in all three go-rounds. (Photo courtesy of Hubbell Photos).
Moon, a bareback rider, rounded out the season in 19th place. He rode his broncs to scores of 65, 68 and 65 in that order.
"I drove home with Rowdy after Casper, and we talked about the strength of those horses," said Elliott. "They had a good set of horses out there. Rowdy told me he thinks he needs to step it up, and I agree. We're going to do a couple things technique-wise to curb some of the stronger horses he's getting on."
Moon's competition included Wyatt Denny, who won the bareback riding at the CNFR and was the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association 2015 bareback riding Resistol Rookie of the Year.
"It was good for Rowdy and all the MPCC Rodeo Team members to see that level of competition," said Elliott. "Overall, they did really well. We can't get away from the fact that these are freshmen in college. They aren't professional yet, but are well on their way. The experience of competing at the national level as freshmen will do great things for their careers."
All of the men, with the exception of Lesiak, will have another shot at representing MPCC at nationals next year. Lesiak, the only sophomore, graduated in May and will transfer to Chadron State College in the fall.