Tough go for Sanchez at CNFR

Sometimes you get the bull, but sometimes – in rodeo, probably most times – the bull gets you. 

That was pretty much the case for all bull-riding competitors present at the 2023 College National Finals Rodeo, held June 11-17 in Casper, Wyo. And unluckily, Ignacio alumnus Dustin Sanchez was one of many unable to register a score on at least one of his three guaranteed attempts. Southwestern Oklahoma State teammate Hunter Tate, also a senior, fared no better inside the Ford Wyoming Center, but the university’s male qualifiers still managed 35 team points – sophomore saddle bronc-buster Brody McAbee finished ninth in the average, as did senior tie-down roper Marley Berger – and a collective 45th-place finish. 

Clarendon, Tex., College piled up a winning 855 points, beating closest challengers McNeese State (Lake Charles, La.) University (790) and Texas A&M-Commerce (690). 

Only two scores were posted in the first go-round of bull riding, a 79 by Weatherford, Tex., College’s Dawson Gleaves and a 67 by Sul Ross State (Alpine, Tex.) University’s Tristen Hutchings. In the second go, Hutchings again ranked second with an improved 85, and was joined in scoring by Sheridan, Wyo., College’s Wyatt Phelps (85.5), University of Arkansas-Monticello’s Cole Skender (82.5) and Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Caden Bunch (81.5). 

During the third go, Hutchings was 84, Gleaves 74, and Central Arizona College’s Brad Moreno 71 as the last scoring efforts before the decisive short go. Bunch posted an 84.5 to win the short and Gleaves put up an 80.5, but Hutchings, Moreno, Phelps and Skender all failed to hang on for eight seconds. 

In the end, Hutchings’ 236/3 figures were still enough to earn him a second (powered by an arena-record 90-point ride, he’d also won the average in ’21, then finished second in ’22) CNFR championship. Gleaves was right on his spurs at 233.5/3, and Bunch (166/2) settled for third place as SEOSU’s first bull rider to make the Nationals’ short go since 2019 – also the last year a SWOSU bull rider had even qualified prior to Sanchez. 

Like it? Share it!