CASPER, Wyo. –– The Utah Valley University men’s rodeo team tied for third place at the College National Finals Rodeo June 10-16 here, with students Tag Elliott and Ben Carson each winning individual national titles.
Elliott took top honors in bull riding and Carson won the steer wrestling event. The UVU team tied with Missouri Valley College for third, finishing only behind Walla Walla Community College and Sam Houston State University in the 55-team finals. It is UVU’s best finish as a team since a second-place finish in 2007.
“We could have had a few more things go our way, but overall we had an excellent week. Having two national champions is no small accomplishment,” said Shane Draper, UVU rodeo coach.
Elliott, a senior from Thatcher, Utah, made it to the short round for the third straight year. He won the bull riding with rides scoring 83.5 and 84.0. He’s currently ninth in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings in bull riding.
Carson, a senior from Lindon, Utah, had times of 4.8, 4.5, 4.4 and 4.2 seconds in the steer wrestling. He finished third in steer wrestling at the 2011 national finals.
Elliott and Carson are the fifth and sixth national champions in the UVU rodeo program’s 44-year history.
“These two have a lot of experience and have had a lot of success along the way, so winning a national championship was really just the culmination of a lot of hard work and them giving it their best when it counted most,” Draper said.
Six of the nine UVU rodeo team members that qualified for nationals will return to the squad next season.
“I think we’re going to come back next year and be an even stronger team. We’ve got a lot of good young cowboys who are only going to get better and be more prepared,” Draper said.
Image courtesy CNFR