DURANT – Southeastern rodeo will send one of its largest groups of qualifiers in recent seasons to the College National Finals Rodeo after Gus Franzen, Cara Hilzendeger, Katelyn Hobbie, Holden Myers, Dylan Riggins, Wyatt Rogers, Mason Ward, and Kolton White all advance to the event set for June 13-19 in Casper, Wyo.
The men’s team was lead in points by Riggins who is no stranger to the CNFR, making this his 6th year to qualify (including the COVID year) to the CNFR in the bareback riding.
He was a member of the Oklahoma Panhandle State national champion teams, qualifying two-of-three years there, placing 8th. Last year Riggins ended the year with a qualification but due to Covid was unable to make his 5th trip to the CNFR.
He finished this season with a reserve champion bareback riding finish in the Central Plains Region. Riggins also competes in the PRCA in the bareback riding and was the South Dakota Bareback Riding Champion 2017, 2019, and 2020.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from OPSU in Biology and will complete his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration this summer in 2021 from Southeastern.
Rogers was second in points, competing in four of the five men’s events this season.
He earned a region all-around title during the Oklahoma State University Rodeo, and was able to gain points in three out of the five events he competed in overall this season.
Rogers is no stranger to the CNFR, qualifying with a second place region finish and posting a fifth place national finish his freshman year.
He was the Co-Male Athlete of the year in 2016 for Southeastern and is again a finalist for the 2021 award.
Rogers competes in the PRCA qualifying to the Prairie Circuit Finals in the PRCA 3 times, CBR finals four times, and representing the PBR global cup team on the Native American team of the Wolves.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Southeastern in Recreation and is currently a graduate student in Sports Administration on schedule to graduate in the spring of 2022.
Gus Franzen from Kearney, Neb., saw last year end without getting to make the trip to the CNFR due to Covid.
He competed in three events for the Storm, finding success in the steer wrestling this season ending the season with a fourth place finish. He ended the 2020 season with a second place finish in the steer wrestling in the Central Plains Region.
Franzen has had much success, earning the reserve champion at the Junior World finals in the steer wrestling in Las Vegas, Nev., and being crowned the champion at the Junior American Steer Wrestling Championship in 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Franzen is majoring in Finance at Southeastern and is on track to graduate spring of 2023.
He had his best showing at CCC this season, winning the steer wrestling event. Gus competes in the PRCA in the steer wrestling.
Myers from Van, Texas, will be making his first trip to the CNFR. He competed this season in three timed events for Southeastern, finding much success in the steer wrestling ending the season with a fifth place finish.
He ended last season with much success qualifying at every rodeo to a short go round. in either the tie down or steer wrestling. This season Myers was able to earn points in both events he competed in, and missed qualifying to last year’s CNFR due to Covid.
Myers had his best showing this season winning second place at his home rodeo and against at SWOSU before rounding out a fifth place finish at Garden City CC. He qualified to the United Professional Rodeo Association last year in the steer wrestling and is looking to Pro Rodeo this upcoming year.
White is no stranger to the CNFR after winning the National Team Roping Championship as a heeler in 2019 with partner Dalton Titsworth.
He has competed in three timed events and the bull riding this season earning points in all four events.
White previously won the Central Plains Region All Around once and Team Roping Title twice with partners Brody Braden and Dalton Titsworth. He also posted a fifth place finish in the bull riding at the CNFR during his all-around year of qualification.
This will be White’s fourth trip to the CNFR in five seasons of eligibility. He will compete this year with Stran Smith from Western Community College in the team roping. He had his best showing in the bull riding at NWOSU with a second place finish, while turning in a top finish in team roping during Colby Community College in fourth.
Ward, from Tryon, Neb., will make his first trip to the CNFR in the bull riding due to Covid ending the season early last year.
He ended the season with a seventh place finish regionally in the bull riding. Ward posted a fifth place finish at NWOSU, a second place finish at FSCC, and a fifth place finish at OSU.
Ward also competes in the PRCA and PBR Velocity Tour in the bull riding.
Hilzendeger, a native of South Dakota, will be making her third trip to the CNFR. Cara competed in the three women’s timed events this season.
She made her first appearance while attending Iowa Central with a third place qualification and earned her second qualification while competing for Missouri Valley College, ending the year in 2019 with a reserve championship in the goat tying.
Hilzendeger ended this season with a reserve championship in the goat tying. She had a lot of success this season, taking second place at FSCC, second at SOSU, seventh at GCCC, fifth at SWOSU, eighth at FHSU, first at OPSU, and third at CCCC.
She has an associate degree in accounting from Iowa Central Community College, Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Missouri Valley College, and is currently in the Master’s program scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2022 in Accounting.
Katelyn Hobbie, a native of Wapanucka, Okla., will be making her first trip to the CNFR in the barrel racing.
She ended the season in second place in the Central Plains Region, and qualified in the barrel racing riding her horse Cody Chilly Nite aka Jelly Bean (JB). She purchased JB her sophomore year of high school and has had a lot of success, qualifying to the National High School Rodeo Association finals multiple times, including representing Oklahoma during the IFYR in Shawnee, Okla., qualifying to the short go round. She has also made appearances at multiple event such as the Summer Shoot-Out in OKC and the X factor barrel racings.
Hobbie had her best showing when she won the barrel racing at her home rodeo Southeastern, as well as taking first at Garden City CC and first at Colby CC. She placed second at NWOSU and fifth place at SWOSU. She won or placed at five of nine competitions this season.