Bareback bronc riders continue to raise the bar at the College National Finals Rodeo (2024)

Jack Nowlin

The bareback bronc riders got Wednesday night's performance of the College National Finals Rodeo off to a rousing start.

By the time the event was done, all six of the top scores in the third go-round and the top three places in the average belonged to cowboys from Wednesday's section.

Tarleton State's Roedy Farrell got things started with a 77.0-point ride on Frontier Rodeo's Big Bay. Two riders later, Gillette College's Cooper Filipek jumped to the top of the leader board with an 83.5 on Harry Vold Rodeo's Bad Alibi.

Later in the round, Clarendon College's Weston Timberman, the defending national champ, rode Frontier Rodeo's Hockey Time for 80.5 points. West Texas College's Mason Stuller moved to third in the go with a 77.5 on Frontier Rodeo's Ace of Spades.

"It makes you want to co*ck your hammer, that’s for dang sure," Filipek said. "You better come to ride or you ain’t going nowhere."

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Timberman, Filipek and Farrell all are going to be staying in Casper for the rest of the week. They stand 1-2-3 in the average and have all punched their tickets to Saturday's short go.

"Saturday night is going to be fun," Timberman said.

So was Wednesday, thanks to a group of talented young guns.

Farrell, an 18-year-old freshman from Thermopolis, is making his college finals debut, but has CNFR championships in his bloodlines. Will Farrell, Roedy's dad, was a two-time CNFR bull riding champ (1999, 2002).

Roedy Farrell would love to add another championship buckle to the family collection, but he knows it won't be easy.

"I’ll be going against the top guys in the nation and some of them are pretty damn good," he said. "So just being part of that group and being recognized with that group is awesome. It’s almost too much to take in."

For Timberman, being able to take a break from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Circuit and hang out with friends and contemporaries is just what he needs right now.

The 19-year-old sophom*ore currently leads the PRCA Resistol Rookie standings and is No. 17 in the world standings.

"Everybody here is my age and they’re my buddies," he said. "I just like the fact that we come here and there’s not a single person I’m not friends with. We’re not trying to prove ourselves to anybody. We’re just here to have a good time and I think that takes a lot of edge off it. I think that brings out the best in a lot of these guys."

It definitely brought out the best in Filipek.

"I talked to four or five people about (Bad Alibi) and they told me, ‘You’re going to have a lot of fun on this horse so take it to her,'" the Central Rocky Mountain Region champ said. "I just had to get a strong mark-out and keep it simple because she was going to do all the work for me."

After his ride, and 30 minutes of accepting congratulatory hand shakes and back slaps from the other bareback riders behind the chutes, Filipek was just as excited to talk about Farrell's ride as he was his own.

"I looked at Roedy and said, 'Man, we’re gonna have the two best horses tonight,'" Filipek said of his pre-ride talk with Farrell. "You’ve got a big horse and they’re going to want to score you high because she jumps, just like my little horse. So you better be making me feel good.’"

This year's CNFR has been a major improvement from two years ago, when Filipek finished 19th in the average riding for Mesalands Community College.

"This feels amazing," he admitted. "I came here my first year of college and I just wasn’t as prepared as I am this year. I was trying to talk myself out of some of those horses because I wasn’t very confident. I tried to go to the golf tournament two years ago, but I was so in my head I didn’t even get time to do that."

Fast forward two years and Filipek was already thinking about adding the CNFR golf trophy to the bareback title he's hoping to win Saturday.

The Rapid City, South Dakota, native knows the field in the short go will be stacked, though.

"It’s almost like a mini version of the NFR," he said, "that’s why they call it the college national finals."

Saddle bronc riding

McNeese State's Caleb Miller had a 78.0-point ride on Harry Vold Rodeo's Thunder Clap to move into third in the go-round. Tarleton State's Ira Dickinson from Rock Springs still leads the third go with an 84.5 followed by Casper College's James Perrin with a 79.0.

Dickinson leads the average with 234.0 points on three head. New Mexico State's Zac Dallas is second with 230.5 and Perrin is third with 225.0.

Bull riding

For the first time all week, the marked rides actually outnumbered the no-scores, with Clarendon College freshman Wacey Schalla once again leading the way.

Schalla, who won the first two go-rounds, scored 83.5 points on Western Rodeo's Cade's Crash to sit atop the third go. He leads the average with 247.5 points.

Wharton County CC's Zeke Martinez had an 82.0 for his second marked score of the week and is second in the average with 160.5 points.

West Texas College's Cooper Jacobs (79.5), Hill Colege's Bryce Jensen (76.5) and Blue Mountain CC's Parker Buchanan also made the 8-second buzzer.

PHOTOS: CNFR Wednesday evening action

The College National Finals Rodeo continued Wednesday night at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.

Follow sports editor Jack Nowlin on Twitter@wyovarsity

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Bareback bronc riders continue to raise the bar at the College National Finals Rodeo (2024)
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