MPCC Rodeo Team wraps up competition at CNFR

CNFR 2023
Monday, June 19, 2023

Mid-Plains Community College brought home two top 20 finishes from the College National Finals Rodeo over the weekend.

Kaden Wooters, of Elwood, and Maggie Underhill, of Hill City, Kan., represented the MPCC Rodeo Team in Casper, Wyo. June 11-17.

Wooters ended up 14th in the average in the steer wrestling while Underhill finished 18th in the barrel racing average. The top 20 times in her event were separated by mere hundredths of a second.

Both Wooters and Underhill were sitting third in the region in their respective events heading into nationals.

“I’m very proud of Kaden and Maggie’s achievements this past year and their top 20 performances,” said MPCC Rodeo Team Timed Event Coach Wyatt Clark. “They competed strongly in Casper, and I’m proud of the runs they made. They had their goals set to be top 12, and the margins were very close. Maggie did a great job making small adjustments and improved her times all week. Kaden worked hard getting in sync with his new horse and a barrier cost him getting in.” 

Also at the CNFR, MPCC Rodeo Team member Dalton Kunkee, of Lexington, was honored with the 2023 Stan Harter Memorial Scholarship Award. The presentation of the $1,000 scholarship was made during the Friday performance of the rodeo.

The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Alumni, Inc. established the scholarship in memory of Stan Harter, four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier, former president of the NIRA Alumni and long-time supporter of college rodeo.

The funds are given to freshmen through junior timed event competitors planning to earn a degree. They must be NIRA members in good standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher to be considered.

“I’m very proud of Dalton’s academic achievement,” Clark said. “I was honored to see him get recognized. I also want to commend Dalton on the fine job hazing for Kaden last week. He was spot on.”

Clark and MPCC Rodeo Team Roughstock Coach Aukai Kaai also accepted a plaque at the CNFR Coaches Breakfast Friday in recognition of the MPCC Stampede being named the 2022-23 Rodeo of the Year for the Great Plains Region.

The MPCC Rodeo Team hosts the Stampede every year in September at the Wild West Arena in North Platte. It’s a qualifying rodeo sanctioned by the NIRA, meaning any points contestants earn at the competition count toward an end-of-year shot at the CNFR.

“It’s a great honor to receive our second Rodeo of the Year award in a span of three years,” Kaai said. “It goes to show that people really enjoy not only our rodeo but also the stock, personnel and town that hosts it. We are thankful to our great sponsors for the rodeo as well as NEBRASKAland Days for hosting us. I couldn’t be more proud of our rodeo athletes who put in the work to make the Stampede a success. I am really excited for next year’s group of athletes and look forward to them doing great things.”

The CNFR marks the end of competitions for the 2022-23 season. Rodeos will resume in September in the Great Plains Region.