Trapper Bubba Boots Places Second In All-Around
Fifty-eight teams from around the country were represented at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper last week and the Northwest College men’s rodeo team took 12th.
NWC sophomore Bubba Boots earned the title of reserve all-around champion after strong showings in three events. Also competing at the CNFR were Matthew Williams, Jake Davis, Caleb McMillan, Weston Mann and Emilio Reyna.
“It was a great rodeo and all,” said NWC head coach Del Nose. “I’m really proud of our guys, [that] they got as far as they did.”
Nose said he thought the team might have had better luck, but with the sport of rodeo, one just never knows.
Of the 11 teams that placed above Northwest, eight are four-year institutions. There are 11 regions across the United States; the top two teams in each region — as well as the top three individual competitors in each event — earn a trip to the CNFR.
Those numbers mean 30-40 participants from across the nation compete for that national title with only three chances to make it to the championship round.
“I can’t say it’s not good — it is good,” said Nose of the team’s overall finish. “As a coach, you always want to be a little better than that, but the guys tried hard, [they are a] very special team, really.”
Boots made it to Saturday’s championship round in all three of his events: tie-down roping, steer wrestling and team roping alongside Matthews.
“Felt really good after all the hard work we’ve put in,” said Boots. “My teammates, we’ve always been out practicing together and just felt good to get here in all three and be able to succeed in all three. It was pretty fun.”
In the tie-down roping championship round, the calf turned on Boots and he missed the animal. Heading into the event, Boots sat in fifth place with a combined time of 32.5 seconds — 13 seconds from the first go-round, 9.4 in the second and 10.1 in the third.
In steer wrestling, Boots’ favorite event, he went into the championship round ranked 12th and he moved up to seventh with a 4.9 second wrestle.
Boots and Williams also finished fourth in the nation in team roping, with a time of 7.1 seconds, moving up two places from the seeding at the beginning of the championship round.
“It feels good coming back out in the next two events and being able to get something done. Was pretty excited about that,” said Boots.
He also ended his season at second place in all-around with 190.83 points; Cole Frey of McNeese State University took the title with 243.33 points.
“It was a pretty good year; I was proud of how it turned out, I guess,” said Boots. “Team roping went good, bulldogging went good. Missed a good one in calf roping, but I guess you can’t win them all. It’s been fun.”
Boots, from Saint Anthony, Idaho, plans to go back home for the summer and will compete in some circuit rodeos. Boots comes from a roping and rodeo family — his sister, Mikayla Jo Boots also made it to the CNFR in breakaway and goat tying — and he’s been roping since he can remember.
“My parents roped and rodeoed growing up, so I’ve just grown up [on it] in my whole life,” said Boots.
Although Boots is a sophomore, he plans to stay at NWC for the next two years and continue competing for the rodeo team. Welding is his major.
Boots’ team roping partner and fellow Saint Anthony resident, Williams, is a freshman majoring in ag business.
“It was really great accomplishment, I guess, qualifying as a freshman,” Williams said. “Not very many people get to and just getting it done my freshman year was great.”
“It’s been a blast [competing] with Bubba all year,” Williams added. “He’s real good to be around and hope for another good year next year.”
The other four cowboys who competed at the CNFR are also freshmen and three of them — Davis, McMillan and Reyna — will return to the team next year.
Davis made the championship round in bull riding, but was bucked off. Of the 12 finalists in the championship round, only three riders made the 8-second buzzer. McMillan missed Saturday’s bull riding final by two slots, coming in 14th.
As for the future of the Northwest College rodeo team, “we got a really solid foundation,” said Nose.
He added that recruiting went well and he’s looking forward to another good year next year.
“I’m just proud of all of them,” Nose said of his team. “The guys did really well; they are very competitive.”