Head coach Del Nose was also named the region’s Coach of the Year at the competition in Great Falls, Montana. The event completed the second half of the regular season.
“That was a great rodeo for us,” said Nose. “To the simple fact that we had enough points, we scored enough points to stay ahead of [University of Montana] Western.”
NWC ended the regular season with a total of 6,103 points — 131.5 points ahead of University of Montana Western. Montana State University finished third with 4,387.5 points.
In Great Falls, the Trappers finished fourth with 355 points. University of Montana Western took first with 860, Montana State University finished second with 755 and University of Great Falls placed third with 410 points.
“We would have liked to won first, but we’ll take that,” said Nose. He said the men’s team had some setbacks, which included the team not having the best of luck in the draw.
“The kids fought hard and they kept their head up. They knew they weren’t right on spot, but they kept trying and trying,” Nose said. “And we didn’t win it [the regional title] until the calf roping.”
Matthew Williams finished second in the tie-down roping with 19.6 seconds and Bubba Boots finished third with 21.3 seconds.
Boots also finished ninth in steer wrestling and sixth for the all-around with 140 points.
Also placing in the all-around was Caleb McMillan, with 55 points, plus an eighth place showing in steer wrestling.
On the women’s side of the rodeo standings, the NWC team finished fifth overall in the region with 852.83 points.
Montana State University took the championship with 4,329.50 points and University of Montana Western placed second with 2,803.5 — meaning both teams earned their way to the CNFR.
Competing in Great Falls, Sierra Lyons finished eighth in goat tying with 14.6 seconds. For the season overall, Lyons finished fourth in the region with 642 points for all-around, seventh in barrel racing and ninth in goat tying.
The NWC men will compete at the CNFR in Casper June 11-17.
With the regular season completed, “the guys are all set, they are excited, they’ll be practicing hard and going to a lot of rodeos before they get to the finals,” Nose said.
McMillan and Jake Davis are headed to compete in rodeos in Washington and Oregon while Boots and Williams will compete in Idaho; Weston Mann and Emilio Reyna are going to be team roping in Arizona. Those rodeos are in the amateur and pro level and not sanctioned with the college rodeos.
“They are going to stay on their game,” said Nose.
Going into the CNFR for the Big Sky Region, Boots sits in first place in the all-around with 1,838 points, McMillan third with 1,265 and Mann fourth with 1,224.5.
Mann also sits in fourth in saddle bronc riding with Austin Cutler 14th.
Orrin Ouska is tied for ninth in bareback riding.
For bull riding, McMillan and Davis are in third and fourth place respectively.
McMillan is ranked in tie-down roping sitting in first place with Boots right behind in second. Williams is also ranked in tie-down roping, sitting in sixth place.
Boots leads in steer wrestling and in team roping, alongside partner Williams. Sitting in third place in team roping are Mann and Reyna.
As for winning the CNFR, “it’s everybody’s goal who goes there,” Nose said, “but it’s hard to do.”
There are 22 teams: the top two teams from each of the 11 regions along with the top three individuals from each event. It means there are 40-50 entries per event.
“It gets spread pretty thin,” said Nose, though he added, “I think we can do it.”
“It’s just how it all shakes out and who’s focused and concentrating hard and on their game,” he said.
NWC will be competing against a lot of four-year schools. Winning a CNFR championship as a junior college is bit more challenging, but “it can be done,” Nose said, adding, “The guys have got the ability to do it; they really do.”
The National Coach of the Year will also be determined at the event; as a winner of the Big Sky Region’s coach of the year award, Nose is a contender for the national honor.
“I didn’t expect that,” Nose said of the regional award. “You know, there is a lot of good guys there.”
Going into next month’s CNFR, NWC is in fourth place overall.