Writer: Darrell J. Pehr, (575) 646-3223, firstname.lastname@example.org
LAS CRUCES - Barrel racers and team ropers from New Mexico State University dominated the competition last weekend at the Cochise College National Intercollegiate Rodeo in Douglas, Ariz.
NMSU's rodeo team corralled the top four places in each event during the season's first rodeo. Solid performances in barrel racing, breakaway and goat tying led the NMSU women to a first-place overall finish. The NMSU men were third.
Krista Norell of Meeker, Colo., an NMSU newcomer, won the women's all-around competition.
NMSU rodeo coach Jim Dewey Brown was impressed with the new recruits, including the winning team roping duo of freshmen Victor Perez of Corona and Nate Mortensen of Virden.
"The freshmen were by far the biggest surprise," Brown said. "It was nice to see the freshmen do so well in the team roping."
Second place went to Tommy Etcheverry of Carlsbad, who teamed with a roper from another school. NMSU ropers Tim Baker of Payson, Ariz., (third) and Kody Gentry of Dell City, Texas, (fourth) also competed with ropers from other schools.
NMSU's Chelsee Byerley of Gallup had an outstanding performance in barrel racing.
Byerley had a slow start last year on a new horse, but was able to put the pieces together at the Cochise rodeo.
"She didn't leave any doubt," Brown said. "She has him figured out, I think." Byerley's combined runs of 17.6 and 17.4 seconds outpaced the competition by almost a full second.
Three new NMSU team members rounded out the top four finishers in barrel racing: Wylene Penrod, Laveen, Ariz., second; freshman Bailey Gow, Roseburg, Ore., third; and Norell, fourth.
Freshman calf roper Wacey Walraven of Datil snagged first place for NMSU.
Norell was third in breakaway, with freshman Lacy Wilson of Artesia and Gow tying for fourth. In goat tying, NMSU newcomer Kambrah Allsup, formerly of Cochise College, was third, followed by NMSU's Kayla Weiss of Great Falls, Mont.
NMSU riders also did well, with Justin Sanderlin of Morenci, Ariz., winning the bull riding. NMSU freshman Darren Albrecht of Veyo, Utah, was third.
In saddle bronc riding, NMSU's Clint Phillipps of Douglas, Wyo., was third.
Next up for the NMSU team is the Gallup/Grand Canyon Regional NIRA rodeo in Gallup Oct. 8-9.
Brown said he will be looking for good things from his team, especially the freshmen. "Hopefully, they'll keep it going."
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