It's not a bad start.
The Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team remains the number one men's team in the Great Plains Region halfway into the 2016-17 season.
MPCC rodeo team members scored a total of 2,032 points this fall in the men's team category – giving them a strong lead over the school in second place – North Dakota's Dickinson State University, which has 1,828 points. That puts MPCC seventh nationally in the men's team standings.
While the MPCC women's team isn't ranked nationally at this point, it is sitting fifth on the regional leaderboard with 520 points.
Mid-Plains is also proving to be a tough act to follow in the individual standings. The college has the top bull rider in both the region and the nation in Garrett Wickett, of Norfolk, who rounded out the fall with 461.5 points.
At the national level, only one and half points separate Wickett from the second in line, Jeffery Horner, who represents Iowa Central Community College.
"Wickett has really matured this year," said Dustin Elliott, MPCC Rodeo Team rough stock coach. "He's been riding good the last couple months, and the standings are showing it."
Wickett isn't the only bull rider earning points for Mid-Plains, however. Hunter Baker, of Cattaraugus, N.Y., is sitting 10th in the regional standings. He's followed by Trey Engel, of Silver Creek, in 11th place; Sam Elliott, of Prineville, Ore., in the 13th spot and Keaghan Gomes, of Pukalani, Hawaii, who is 15th.
Team roping heeler
Chandler Comfort, of Gem, Kan., is currently winning the regional team roping heeler category with 342 points. Not far behind him, holding onto third place, is Trenton Solida, of Phillipsburg, Kan.
Wyatt Killion, of Ainsworth, is sixth in the regional standings, Tanner Freeman, of Dunning, is ninth and Lane Kennedy, of Orleans, is 15th. Nationally, Comfort is fourth, Solida is ninth and Killion is 25th.
Team roping header
MPCC cowgirl Kaile Jacobson, of Haiku, Hawaii, is third in the regional team roping header standings and ninth at the national level.
Her teammate, Reece Weber, of Valentine, is fourth regionally and 14th in the nation. Rhett O'Connor, of Paxton, is sixth in the region and is sitting 25th nationally. Ryan Cox, of North Platte, is 15th in the Great Plains Region.
Rowdy Moon, of Sargent, is second regionally in the bareback riding with 508 points. That puts him 11th in the nation. His teammate, Cord Hesseltine, of Halsey, is tied for ninth in the region with two North Dakota State University cowboys, Jason Thoms and Joshua DiPippo.
Kris Rasmussen, of Riverdale, is second in the region in his event – steer wrestling. The 385 points he accumulated have also put him fourth in the nation.
Right behind him is his teammate, Cyler Dowling, of Newell, S.D., who is ranked third in the region and fifth in the national standings.
Also in the regional lineup, Hesseltine is sitting 10th; Sawyer Strand, of Harrisburg, S.D., is 11th and Freeman is 13th.
Saddle bronc, tie-down roping, barrel racing
Weber, Weehler, Macomber
MPCC's remaining three representatives on the regional leaderboard all placed sixth in their respective events: Shane Weber, of Burwell, in saddle bronc riding; Riley Weehler, of Maloy, Iowa, in the tie-down roping and Shania Macomber, of Whitman, in the barrel racing.
"I'm pleased with where we're at for sure," said Elliott of the team's success. "I try to stay humble and focused. There's still half the season left, and a lot can happen."
There are five rodeos in the fall and five in the spring. Fall rodeos wrapped up on Saturday. The schedule for spring has not been released.