June 23, 2014
Omaha, Neb. (RFD-TV) RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Semifinals is set for some thrilling action with the newest College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) champions getting ready to prove themselves to the best in the world.
The 2014 CNFR was held in Casper, Wyoming, and crowned its champions on Saturday, June 21, 2014. RFD-TV was there to congratulate the outstanding athletes and present them with an exemption into RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Semifinals.
Bareback Champion—Orin Larsen
Oklahoma Panhandle State University senior Orin Larsen earned his second College National Finals Bareback Championship after putting up an impressive 82.5 on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Jason’s Pride. Larsen came into the short round seated second in the nation by only 2.5 points.
“Feels great to go out last year and win a title and to do it back-to-back, it’s unbelievable,” said Larsen. “I couldn’t be more blessed or more excited.”
As for his RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Semifinals Exemption, “I kind of forgot about it until I saw you guys [RFD-TV]. That’s a heck of a deal. I’m excited, can’t wait to be there,” he stated.
Tie-Down Champion—Taylor Santos-Karney
The College National Finals Tie-Down Championship is headed back to California with Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo freshman Taylor Santos-Karney. Santos-Karney competed at the CNFR in tie-down, steer wrestling and team roping, but only made it to the short round in tie-down.
Competing in the team roping with his brother, junior Lane Santos Karney, the week was a family affair. “About halfway through this week we weren’t drawing good and things just weren’t going good,” said Santos-Karney. “I walked up to [my brother] and said, ‘Hey, we’re having trouble, but I need to win the calf roping. We need to bring a national championship back to California.’”
The Creston, California, native is looking forward to competing at RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Semifinals. “Riding in THE AMERICAN to me is like a world title. I can’t really fathom the idea,” said Santos-Karney. “I don’t think it’s soaked in yet fully. I’m going to darn sure go home and practice my all and try to be ready for those guys.”
Saddle Bronc Champion—CoBurn Bradshaw
Saddle Bronc Riding brought another freshman into the national spotlight - Western Texas College’s CoBurn Bradshaw. Seated first in the average at the start of the round, Bradshaw held on to his lead, scoring an 80.5 on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Matterhorn. “Winning a national title is what I came here to try to do and it all panned out,” said Bradshaw.
Bradshaw should be able to balance the excitement of THE AMERICAN and the intensity of the competition. After making an electric entrance and pumping up the Casper crowd during his introduction to open the rodeo, he quickly got back to business.
“I’ll try to go in the same as I did here, just try to keep a level head and stay calm. I don’t do very good under pressure, so I can’t think about anything or I don’t do very good,” he said.
Steer Wrestling Champion—Cade Goodman
Wharton County Junior College freshman Cade Goodman earned his spot at RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Semifinals after beating out an impressive field of steer wrestlers. Goodman stopped the clock in 4.9 seconds to finish his first CNFR with a national championship.
“I’m just excited to win a national championship,” said Goodman. “It’s nothing I ever expected coming here my first year competing. I’ve always tried my hardest, tried to be here and it just paid off.”
Goodman will go home to Waelder, Texas, to celebrate and keep up his hard work. “I’m going to try to be a little snappier, stronger. I know the steers are stronger than what I’m used to at my amateur rodeos…,” he stated. “I’m going to have to change a little bit to be able to compete at the level of all those pro guys I’m going up against.”
Team Roping Champions—Billy Bob Brown & Logan Medlin
Taking home the second back-to-back championship were the dynamic team roping duo of Billy Bob Brown and Logan Medlin. Brown and Medlin came into the 2014 CNFR with the goal of repeating their 2013 championship and proving their talent.
“Winning our second national finals, it’s a great feeling,” said Medlin, who competed for Eastern New Mexico University. “It’s awesome to have won it once, obviously, but to win it twice, two years in a row and for me as senior going out, it’s a good way to go out.”
Both Brown and Medlin credit the other for their success and plan to reach even higher goals together. “Winning another championship with Logan is awesome. We’ve grown a relationship together and been best friends. Last year I was the best man at his wedding,” said Brown, a Tarleton State University team member. “It’s not only a team in the arena, but we’re a team out of the arena…We’re finally getting it together and hopefully, there’s no stopping the future.”
The pair will hit the rodeo road this summer and only slowed down to accept their awards before driving from Casper to Reno, Nevada, and the Bob Feist Invitational. They will be sure to keep plenty of space on their schedule for THE AMERICAN Semifinals.
“We’ve sat at the house together multiple times and watched the reruns of (THE AMERICAN) and just talked about how awesome of an event it was. We wanted to be there and we have a chance now and it’s a blessing really,” said Brown.
Barrel Racing Champion—Taylor Engesser
The third freshman to earn a 2014 CNFR title was Gillette College’s Taylor Engesser, who claimed the College National Finals Barrel Racing Championship and the Women’s Rookie of the Year after clocking her fastest time of the week at just 13.58 seconds.
“I feel amazing. Actually, it hasn’t completely hit me yet, but it still feels great,” said Engesser. “I give all the credit to my horse, he’s amazing.”
Engesser had to share her horse, 19-year-old Rowdy with her sister, Ricky Engesser, at the South Dakota High School Finals this weekend. With his outstanding performances for the sisters, Engesser plans to keep doing what she knows is best for her equine teammate.
“I’m going to run Rowdy and hope that he does the same thing he did here! I think THE AMERICAN will be a great experience,” said Engesser.
Bull Riding Champion—Joe Frost
To round out RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN’s college roster, Joe Frost, a junior from Oklahoma Panhandle State University, was the only bull rider to cover all four of his bulls to claim his first College National Finals Bull Riding Championship.
“I’m pretty thrilled. I won the junior high finals when I was in eighth grade, high school when I was a junior, and now this one,” said Frost. “We got a PRCA world title coming next!”
Frost rode his final bull for a score of 85 points to secure his championship and a shot at $1 million. He came into the night leading the average, but didn’t let that change his focus. “I knew there was a handful of guys that just needed to ride…So all I had to do was tunnel vision about getting that one rode,” he stated.
Frost had set his sights on THE AMERICAN in 2013 but wasn’t able make it to a qualifier. “…I’m dang sure excited, I mean THE AMERICAN is a great thing for rodeo and it’s exciting to see the sport growing. Jim Shoulders and those guys would be thrilled right now,” said Frost.
RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Semifinals are sure to bring thrilling action to rodeo fans with these eight athletes included. Listen to Western Sports Roundup this week on Rural Radio Channel 80 or watch the Rural Evening News for more CNFR highlights.
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