Norman’s Sport and Western and Norman’s Outdoor Sports salute our region’s MPRF qualifiers | Cutting Bank Pioneer Press

The overall year-end winner and average winner from each event in this weekend’s event qualify for the NFR Open July 13-16 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Previously, the national event was called RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo and was held in Kissimmee, Florida in April. From now on, the final of the PRCA circuit system is called NFR Open and will be organized by the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo.

Escaped rope

First lap: Megan Lunak-Small finished 3rd with a scorching 2.7 run! She broke the barrier in rounds 2 and 3, but still managed an average 4th place finish in the first-ever WPRA Breakaway Roping. Sammy Jo Bird also qualified for the MPRF in Breakaway. She missed her first two calves, putting a “through the loop” and grabbed her 3rd calf for a flat 4.0. She was 5th in that round, one out of the money.

On a personal note, many of us girls threw a few breakaway loops in high school and college; I was one of them. Riding a “ranch horse” and neither of us had box/barrier knowledge. I could catch them in the practice paddock as my 3 year old gelding passed by! Not very competitive at rodeos, though. It’s really evolved and it’s pretty neat to see the ladies included in another pro rodeo event!

I remember seeing Megan teaching a youth riding clinic at Browning and being very impressed with her positive attitude and riding skills.

She overcame the loss of an inch in a high ropes accident to become competitive again in the high ropes arena. She told us that Joe Beaver taped his thumb to her hand to figure out how to teach her to play tug of war again. It’s perseverance when it would have been easier to leave!

WPRA Montana Tour

2018 Montana WPRA Rookie of the Year Tia Murphy and Ican Make U Famous (2012 mare by Famous Lane and dam of Proudest Effort) were coming off an injury last year so they had to work to regain their confidence. Placing high in Glasgow, Great Falls and Missoula in August was proof that their hard work was paying off. Since Tia is a teacher and has her summers free, she can travel a lot with her two children. Tia’s mother, Charlene Aberg, joins them when she gets the chance. Tia grew up in Cut Bank and started competing in O-Mok-Sees at the Saddle Club as a little girl. With her work ethic and dedication, she is a great role model for aspiring barrel racers. His daughter Brinli also takes up barrel racing.

In the first round, Tia knocked over a barrel taking her out of the money. She shared 4th place on lap 2 with a time of 13.22 and ran a 13.05 on lap 3 for a 2nd place check. Tia also cashed an average 4th place check!

Team rope round

Dustin Bird, Cut Bank/Ike Folsom, Dillon, 6.0. On lap 3 they were 4th with a 10.1 despite taking a 5 second penalty for only 1 hind leg. They roped up the 3 steers for an average 2nd place.

saddle bronc

3rd Alan Gobert, Browning, 81; Second lap: 2nd Alan Gobert, 79 on Painted Commotion. Alan finished 2nd in the Saddle Bronc Riding Average.

Lashing rope

Chad Johnson, Cut Bank, made his 23rd MPRF appearance! On a tough bullpen of kicking little calves, he managed to get a check in every round: Round 1-4th, 16.3; Round 2 – 4th again and 4 seconds faster 12.1; On lap 3 he was 3rd with an 11.0 flat run. Chad finished the final 2nd on average.

bull riding

The Bulls were definitely winning with so few riders, but in round two Kobe Whitford was 1st with 88.5 points over J Bar J’s Little Hoot, and Preston Louis was 2nd with 77 points. In the third round, Cole Wagner on Duane Kesler’s Ivy League and Bo Vocu on J Bar J’s Big Block are tied for first with 84 points.

For the average in 3rd, Kobe Whitford had 88.5 on a header, Bo Vocu and Cole Wagner tied 84 for 4th.

Cole Wagner, Valier, won the year-end Montana PRCA Bull riding championship. He entered the final with the lead but did not ride his bulls in rounds 1 and 2 (MPRF); then rode a 3rd-round Bull Reride for 84 points to split the round win and clinch the year-end title.

The 25-year-old Valier native has been riding bulls since he was young and is no stranger to victory as he won these rodeos in Montana last year: Big Timber, Great Falls, Helena and Drummond with 2nd places at Belt, Augusta, Plentywood, Shelby and Dillon. With the win, Cole clinched his ticket to the NFR Open Rodeo. (formerly the first 2 qualified for the final of the RAM circuit.)

These results are proudly sponsored by Norman’s Sport and Western and Norman’s Outdoor Sports.

For more sports coverage of the action from the past week, pick up a copy or subscribe to The Glacier Reporter, Cut Bank Pioneer Press, Shelby Promoter or The Valierian at services/

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