Great Plains Region- College Rodeo Recap
May 13, 2024
BY : Stacy McGee

Great Plains College Rodeo. Left to right: Student Director-Dalton Kunkee, Women's All-around Champion- Haven Jones, Women's Reserve All-around Champion-Cashae McGee, Great Plains Regional Director-Ron Skovly. [Photo: Stacy McGee]

Lincoln, Nebraska–

The Great Plains College Rodeo (GPR) season finale took place in Lincoln, Nebraska May 3 & 4, 2024–bringing an intense weekend of rodeo action.  This was the last call to lock in a qualifying spot to compete with the ‘Best of the Best’ at the College National Finals (CNFR) in Casper, Wyoming, June 8-14, 2024.

The points in the college rodeo standings were knock down tight going into Lincoln, providing opportunities for athletes to sneak into the top three slots of their event.   The competition heated up in the long go, intensifying the pressure to secure a spot in the short round, in hopes to gain traction on the leaderboard.   The surprise upsets and white-knuckled misses had parents putting pencil to paper, tallying points to lay out every probability.

The energy was electric, emotions were in overdrive heading into the short go (final round).  Athletes brought their ‘a game’, fully committed to leaving it all in the arena.   When the dust settled, CNFR qualifiers were announced, filling the air with an intense mixture of joy and heartbreak.

The roots of the North Dakota High School Rodeo Association (NDSRA) shined in the outcome, sending several North Dakota athletes to compete at the upcoming CNFR.

The Great Plains Region Men’s Teams battled it out till the bitter end, with Mid-Plains Community College coming out on top.   Reserve rights went to the Black Hills State University (BHSU) Men’s Team.

The BHSU women’s team dominated earlier in the season, clinching the women’s team champion title. However, the battle for reserve was fiercely contested between Dickinson State University (DSU) and South Dakota State University (SDSU), with the SDSU ladies team securing victory by a slim margin.

The competition for the All-Around titles were neck and neck, with the outcome hanging in the rafters until the rodeo secretary crunched the final numbers.    The Men’s All-Around was cinched up by Mid-Plains Region’s Dion Augustrio, with BHSU’s Austin Madison, narrowly sliding into Reserve.  The Women’s All-Around was a photo finish with BHSU teammates, Haven Jones and Cashae McGee, finishing strong on the leaderboard.

Great Plains Region Team Roping. Back row, left to right: Team Roping Director-Jace Richter, Champion Header-Trey Frank, Reserve Champion-Lan Fuhrer, Third-Jory Boote, Great Plains Regional Director-Ron Skovly. Front row: Team roping Champion Heeler-Riley Stanton, Reserve Champion-Clayton Backhaus, Third Jaxton Starr. [Photo: Stacy McGee]

Our ND High School Rodeo alumni cowboys secured three spots in the team roping.  Riley Staton sealed the Champion Heeler title, followed by Clayton Backhaus filling in second.  Jory Boote, DSU header, came into Lincoln sitting in the number 5 slot, steadily climbed the board landing in third place.

Great Plains Region Goat Tying. Left to right:  Student Director-Dalton Kunkee, Goat Tying Director-Kailyn Groves, Champion-Cashae McGee, Reserve Champion-Opal Harkins, Third-Haven Jones, Great Plains Region Director-Ron Skovly. [Photo: Stacy McGee]

Goat Tying is making headlines at rodeos-showcasing the athletics and grit of our cowgirls.  Cashae McGee, BHSU, seized the GPR Champion Goat Tier title, acknowledging the vital role her horse, Bucky, played in determining the outcome.   Opal Harkins, SDSU slipped into second after a riveting short go in goat tying, with BHSU, Haven Jones pocketing third.

Great Plains Region Tie Down Roping. Left to right: Student Director-Dalton Kunkee, Tie Down Roping Director-Mathew Miller, Tie Down Roping Champion-Luke Mavity, Reserve Champion-Rafe Wientjes, Third-Jory Boote, Great Plains Regional Director-Ron Skovly. [Photo: Stacy McGee]

Luke Mavity, representing BHSU, made a remarkable comeback following his knee surgery last fall, claiming the Tie Down Roping title. Trailing in second was SDSU’s, Rafe Wientjes, followed by DSU’s Jory Boote.

Great Plains Region Bull Riding. Left to right: Student Director-Dalton Kunkee, Bull Riding Director-Dalton Praus, Bull Riding Champion-Lathan DeMontigny, Reserve Champion-Koby Jacobson, Third- Sage Vance and Dion Augustrio, Great Plains Region Director-Ron Skovly. [Photo: Stacy McGee]

Lathan DeMontigny dominated the season in the Bull Riding, mirroring his father, Kyle DeMontigny’s success-as he claimed the second-generation championship title in the GPR Bull Riding.  Mid-Plains teammates, Koby Jacobson and Dion Augustrio snagged the final two spots.

Congratulations athletes, your ticket has been punched to compete at the CNFR.  See you in Casper!

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