UMW News BureauThe University of Montana Western men and women's rodeo team are in Casper, Wyo. for the 61st College National Finals Rodeo. By Wally Feldt The University of Montana Western men’s rodeo team rides into Casper, Wyo. for the 61st College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) June 14-20, 2009 as champions of the Big Sky Region. More than 400 cowboys and cowgirls from over 100 colleges and universities will compete in college rodeo’s premier event. The CNFR begins on Sunday, June 14 with Bulls, Broncs and Breakaway at 1 and 4 p.m. There are slack performances Monday, June 15 and Tuesday, June 16 beginning at 7 a.m. “This is the Super Bowl of college rodeo,” Montana Western rodeo coach Olie Else said. “The best of the best will be showing their talent in one of the premier rodeo events.” Evening performances begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. All qualifiers compete in three rounds with the top 12 in each event advancing to the Saturday night championship finals. Led by four individual champions, the Bulldog men’s team won the regional title by nearly 2000 points and will send eight cowboys to the CNFR. Wyatt Smith, a junior from Rexburg, Idaho was the regional champ in saddle bronc, steer wrestling and all-around. Smith will compete in saddle bronc and steer wrestling. Brett Heggie, a junior from Roundup, Mont., was the regional champion in tie down roping. Heggie, a transfer from Norwest College of Powell, Wyo., competed at CNFR last year. Brian Dawson, a senior from Boulder, Mont., finished second in the region in saddle bronc riding. Dawson is making his first appearance at the CNFR. Ace Mills, junior from Augusta, Mont., will compete in saddle bronc riding in his first trip to the College National Finals. Kent Mueller, a senior from Belgrade, Mont., will compete in team roping. It’s Mueller’s first appearance at the CNFR. Parker Murnion, a junior from Jordan, Mont., makes his first appearance in Casper competing in team roping. Taylor Nahrgang, a senior from Buckeye, Ariz., makes his third trip to the CNFR. He will compete in steer wrestling. Nahrgang is the newly elected student director of the Big Sky Region and is a candidate for the Walt Garrison award. Stetson Wilson, a senior from Pocatello, Idaho, finished second in the region in steer wrestling. This is Wilson’s second trip to the CNFR. The Bulldog women’s team finished second in the region and qualified four cowgirls to the College National Finals. Shaylee French, a senior from Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada is making her third straight trip to the CNFR. She will compete in goat tying in Casper. She finished third in the region. Brandy Pedersen, a junior from Great Falls, Mont. is making her second trip to the CNFR. She qualified in breakaway roping after finishing fourth in the region. Lexi Archibek, a senior from Sun City, Calif. is making her first trip to the CNFR. She qualified for the CNFR after a fourth place regional finish in barrel racing. Rose Fields, a junior from Salmon, Idaho is making her first trip to the CNFR. She qualified for the CNFR after a seventh place regional finish in barrel racing.