STEPHENVILLE, Texas – Six men. All working toward the fourth national title for the Tarleton State University men’s rodeo team.
Individually they have qualified for 11 combined College National Finals Rodeo appearances. There are two regular-season event champions and a reserve champion.
And there are expectations.
Their combined experience helped the storied squad finish second in the ultra-competitive Southwest Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and earn a team berth in the College National Finals Rodeo to be held June 12-18 in Casper, Wyoming.
Representing Tarleton’s men at the annual CNFR are steer wrestlers Ty Allred and Walt Arnold; saddle bronc riders Brody Wells and Cash Wilson; tie-down roper Brayden Roe and team roper Brett Stuart.
Allred, the 2022 event champion in the Southwest Region, and Arnold, this year’s regional runner-up and last year’s event champ, have faced each other all year. They combined for a dozen top four finishes during the 2021-22 college rodeo season, including titles at six stops.
Walt, a three-time CNFR qualifier, sees the internal competition as a positive.
“When you’ve got two guys you know can get it done, it makes your team better,” he said. “We don’t usually talk about it much. I know he wants to go win it, and I want to go win it. We both know that.”
The pair came from similar backgrounds, each all-state honorees playing high school football, Walt in his hometown of Coleman and Ty in his native Tooele, Utah.
They qualified for their state high school rodeos, too. They each reached the high school state and national finals as a junior and senior, and both came to Tarleton after successful stints at Southwest Region junior college programs.
Arnold signed with Cisco Junior College out of high school and competed there for two seasons, earning a CNFR appearance before transferring to Tarleton.
Ty Allred’s initial college rodeo experience came at Odessa College, where he was part of the 2018 team that made the national finals.
Saddle bronc riders Brody and Cash also began their college rodeo careers in the Southwest Region, both signing with Clarendon College after outstanding high school stints, and both earning CNFR berths before coming to Tarleton.
Brody, a native of Powell, Wyoming, is making his second CNFR appearance. He won the NIRA regional saddle bronc crown this year, taking top 10 finishes in eight regular season rodeos, including firsts at Odessa College and Howard College.
Cash, from Wall, South Dakota, finished the 2021-22 campaign fifth on the regional leader board, tying for first at the Ranger College Rodeo and reaching the finals six times. He’ll be in the Casper arena for his second CNFR.
As has been the case all year, both men will be competing for Tarleton while facing off against each other for individual honors.
“Brody and I are roommates,” Cash said. “We’re real close, so we kind of work really hard to stay on an even keel with each other.”
Brayden, a Wendell, Idaho, product, is making his first summer trip to Casper after finishing eighth in calf roping for the season.
Like most of the CNFR qualifiers across the country, he has been in rodeo arenas since he was very young. Out of high school he competed with Ranger College for two seasons before coming to Stephenville.
He’s trying to keep a perspective on his first CNFR appearance.
“It’s just another rodeo, I guess,” said the junior animal production major. “I have to go rope three more calves.”
He’ll prepare with that in mind. “I’ll go to circuit and amateur rodeos around here and head to Casper. I rope every day to stay as sharp as I can. I don’t change anything, as far as my practice routine.”
This article was provided to the Business Press by Tarleton State University.