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Montana State men, women win team titles at second spring rodeo

Wes Shaw
Posted at 1:53 PM, Apr 15, 2024

(Editor's note: Montana State athletics release.)

BOZEMAN — “Winners run with winners.”

Montana State head rodeo coach Kyle Whitaker was talking about his program’s championship legacy in goat tying, but on Sunday it applied to the entire Bobcat contingent. Montana State won the men’s and women’s team titles in both sessions of the MSU Spring Rodeo, which launches the five-rodeo, 26-day Big Sky Region spring season.

Find team standings here, individual results here.

Bobcat athletes won three events in Sunday’s championship go-round and four of the nine events on the average of the rodeo’s two rounds to seal the team wins. MSU’s Faith Marshall won the women’s all-around title for the Rodeo #2, while Bobcat Wes Shaw won the men’s all-around buckle.

“It was a lot of fun, a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun,” Whitaker said. “The first rodeo I was real excited watching our team. Today we had a few guys slip up today and it didn’t go quite as good as we wanted. That’s rodeo, that happens sometimes, I’m still really proud of them and really proud of all the work they’ve done. It shows.”

One of the stumbles came in the steer wrestling, where the Bobcats left points unclaimed by finishing third, fourth and sixth. The team made up for that with strong individual showings in the tie-down roping, grabbing first, third and fourth. In fact, Wyatt Jensen won the short go and the average.

MSU’s strong performance in the tie-down roping was not an accident, Whitaker said. His team emphasized improving in that event over the off-season.

“I made (tie-down roping) a priority because I thought we let a lot of points slip away last fall,” he said. “You can tie from the posts, you don’t have to have a horse all the time, you just work on your tying and get that repetition. I think that showed, because I think our guys are the fastest ones on the ground. It’s just like goat tying and calf roping, you can tell the people that practice their tying. The more you practice the faster you are and the more consistent you are. There’s a direct correlation between the amount of time you practice and how you succeed in the arena.”

Senior Tayla Moeykens won the average in the second straight rodeo, cementing her reputation as one of the top barrel racers in the nation. On the other end of the spectrum, freshman Faith Marshall extended her breakout weekend by winning the goat tying average for the second time this weekend. Jessica Stevens and Cassidy Bolich also placed in goat tying, which Whitaker said doesn’t surprise him.

“Last year with Paige (Rasmussen, the 2023 national champion), she’s unbelievable, one of the greatest talents of all time, so she’s practicing with the girls every day and that’s what they’re trying ti be like. We still have that same atmosphere here even though she’s gone. Those girls know how to practice, they’ve seen how hard she worked, and they keep doing that.”

With two of the five Big Sky Region spring rodeos now in the rear view mirror, the teams begin a sprint to the finish. MSU travels to Miles City for two Miles Community College rodeos next weekend, then finish with one two-day event in Missoula the following week. It all leads the way to the 2024 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming, in mid-June.

TEAM STANDINGS

Men’s Standings: 1) Montana State 780, 2) UM Western 610, 3) Northwest College 400, 4) Montana 285, 5) MSU Northern 240, 6) Miles CC 170, 7) Dawson CC 110

Women’s Standings: 1) Montana State 360, UM Western 340, 3) Montana 310, 4) MSU Northern 155, 5) Miles CC 45