Matt Thomas, Sports Information Director
DURANT – Southeastern rodeo is set to open competition when it sends a total of seven athletes across the men’s and women’s teams to compete in the College National Finals Rodeo June 11-17 in Casper, Wyo.
The women’s squad will send a foursome in Cheyenne Epps, Shelby Whiting, Cierra Chapman and Kylee Bennett and advance as the Central Plains Region women’s team champions.
The men send Kolton White, Brody Braden and Denver Berry.
The rodeo will expand its ESPN coverage this season as Wednesday through Saturday performances on ESPN 3/Watch ESPN app.
Epps individually earned her trip after winning the Central Plains Region in the breakaway roping. This will be her first CNFR trip.
Chapman took home the Central Plains Region barrel racing championship and earning her first CNFR qualification.
Bennett was leading the goat tying by 30 points heading into the final rodeo of the season, while her teammate Whiting was in second place. Bennett would end up 11th in the long go at OPSU with some unfortunate luck of the draw in the goat tying, missing the short go and putting some pressure on Whiting who needed an additional 11 points to claim the title in the short go.
Whiting came back and was able to place in the short go and average which gave her the Central Plains Regional Goat Tying Championship, with Bennett earning the reserve championship. This will be the first CNFR qualification for both Whiting and Bennett.
On the men’s side, White took home the Central Plains region championship in the all-around and will compete in his top two points scoring events at the CNFR, team roping and bull riding.
White was able to capture a 12th place finish in the saddle bronc riding, but due to injuries he was only able to compete at half of the scheduled events.
White was only able to compete partially but still ended the year in 7th place in the bull riding regionally, but due to his regional all-around title he will be able to ride bulls at the CNFR for Southeastern.
Braden and White claimed the 3rd place qualification to the CNFR in the team roping. Last year the duo were the Central Plains Region Champions. This will be Braden’s fourth qualification to the CNFR and White’s second qualification. A senior, Braden will be missed in his roping work as well hazing in the steer wrestling, while the team will also bid farewell to B.J. Davis who had many short go rd. qualifications in the team roping while at Southeastern.
Berry qualified for his first CNFR in the steer wrestling after taking home third place in the region. Wyatt Rogers ended up in 21st place and White finished 28th place in the steer wrestling.