When the phrase “all-around” is used it implies the trait of being a person of many talents.
That is true in rodeo, as well as other walks of life, and last weekend as Northwest College competed in its first rodeos of the 2017-18 season, and its only home meets of the year, Bubba Boots and Caleb McMillan were the personification of do-it-all cowboys.
As the Trapper men’s team twice finished second at Stampede Park in Friday and Saturday rodeos that brought the entire Big Sky Region to Cody, Boots and McMillan got plenty of blowing dust in their chaps.
On day one McMillan, who competed in five events, placed second in the all-around cowboy standings and Boots fourth. The next night Boots won the title and McMillan was third.
Montana State topped the Trapper men, who won the region championship last year, on both nights. The Trapper women finished third on opening night and fourth the second night, showing more depth than last season.
“Montana State had a good rodeo,” Northwest coach Del Nose said.
The evening performances ran longer than three hours and day-time slack ran between five and six hours each day with hundreds of entries from eight men’s teams and seven women’s teams.
The former University of Great Falls, one of the regular Montana schools on the circuit, changed its name to the University of Providence over the summer and showed up in the standings with its new name.
The crowd in slack Friday was frying from the heat and strong sun.
Boots took third in steer wrestling and fifth as a team-roping header with Matt Williams while being scorched.
“Oh man, it was hot,” he said. “And it took forever.”
Team roping, calf roping and steer wrestling kept Boots busy. He and Williams tied for second in team roping and Boots was third in steer wrestling the second night.
McMillan made more appearances under the lights on saddle broncs and bulls, but placed in four events the first rodeo, sharing sixth in team roping with teammate Levi Mydland.
What fans don’t realize is that Northwest coaches and athletes organize the rodeo, fundraise for it, gather sponsorship and plan it. During the rodeo athletes aren’t merely sitting around playing card games, but are working. Some took ticket money at the gate. Some worked with livestock.
Slack ran so long McMillan said after dashing back to Powell in the afternoon he had time just for a 35-minute nap before returning to Cody.
“We work pretty hard here,” he said.
A woman’s team that was near the bottom of the standings last year has been beefed up and showed promise.
Katy Negarrd, who had some good moments in barrel racing despite her horse’s breathing being affected by wildfire smoke that blew in, competed in team roping too, and said the Trappers take pride in organizing a good competition. They began working on site five days before Friday slack.
“It’s our rodeo,” she said. “We enjoy putting it on once (a season), but that’s enough.”
Team roping partner Brooke Winward, who tied for first in breakaway roping in 3.1 seconds in the first rodeo, was also in goat tying.
Goat tying is seldom seen in Cody. It is not an event in either Cody Nite Rodeo or the Cody Stampede.
Riders speed out of end chutes on horseback, gradually slow, leap off the horse while it’s still going, dash up to a tethered goat and swiftly tie its legs.
Lots can go wrong and Winward took a misstep after her dismount and jammed a leg that required ice treatment.
Winward, who is from Preston, Idaho, where the 2004 comedy movie “Napoleon Dynamite” was filmed [and said she met actor Jon Heder while in elementary school], did not have a goat-tying part in the flick.
“I’ve had a lot worse dismounts,” Winward said. “Training and technique are a big factor. You need to time your dismount and you have to run really low so the goat doesn’t run between your legs. It’s a quick, quick, boom, boom thing.”
This time the goat got her goat.