Calvin Shaffer was the Northwest College name on top in saddle bronc in last weekend’s rodeo at Montana State-Northern.
It was just his turn. The Trappers continue to accumulate huge amounts of points to stay ahead of all rivals in the Big Sky Rodeo Region. The men’s squad is undefeated after winning all four of the fall rodeos and one of the team’s strengths has been rodeo’s classic event.
Shaffer leads the region in points, but teammates Clancy Glenn, Caleb McMillan and Cody Weeks hold places two, four and seven.
“We’ve had a really good run in our events,” Shaffer said. “Everyone’s feeding off each other. We just keep on doing our jobs.”
With one rodeo to go for autumn in the split season, the Trappers lead the men’s standings with 2,792.5 points to Montana State’s second-place total of 1,923.
The Lady Trappers reside in fifth place overall. Scout Yochum’s seventh in goat tying was the women’s best finish last weekend. Brieze Shepard is 13th in the season standings.
McMillan, a sophomore from Soap Lake, Wash., is the circuit’s top rodeo man, miles ahead in the all-around standings after taking that title again in the last rodeo.
Besides his rating in the all-around and saddle bronc, McMillan is fourth in bull riding, first in tie-down roping, 13th in steer wrestling, and leads team-roping headers.
“Caleb’s our biggest man,” said coach Del Nose of McMillan’s contributions. “Caleb is killing it.”
But he is no Lone Ranger, either. As another signal of depth, the Trappers have four guys, Justin Ketzenberg, (third), McMillan, Keaton Martz, (fifth) and Austin Herrera (seventh) ranked in bull riding.
Then there are the ropers besides McMillan. Bubba Boots leads as team-roping heeler, with Colten Fisher third and Cashe Davis 12th. Boots is also seventh in tie-down roping and tied for 10th in steer wrestling. Will Griffel is third as team-roping header.
Fisher and Griffel won at Northern.
“We’re just going in there and knocking ’em down, one steer at a time,” Fisher said.
When the season began a few weeks ago, Fisher was optimistic, but did not predict beating everyone, nor placing four competitors in single events.
“It is pretty cool. I knew we were going to be good,” Fisher said. “I didn’t know we could win everything.”
Neither did Nose.
“We’re having a good ride,” he said. “What is clicking is our sophomores. They are really having a great year.”
The point margin in first has thrilled Nose.
“A huge lead,” he said, especially since several four-year schools are in the region. “For a junior college to have that kind of success is not impossible, but it is rare.”
College rodeo has an unusual split season with half the schedule of 10 rodeos in the fall and the other half in the spring.
“We usually come back strong in the split season,” Nose said.
One reason is Trapper Arena. The fact Northwest has its own indoor training facility is a boon to recruiting, he said, and allows the team to practice conveniently during the snowy season.
“I am a happy camper,” Nose said of the Trappers’ status. “We cannot complain. I’ve got a good feeling about this year.”