Six members of the Oklahoma State University Rodeo Team are headed to Casper, Wyoming, to compete for OSU in the College National Finals Rodeo June 12-18. The OSU Rodeo Team will compete against teams from 11 different regions across the country.
The event will cap off a championship season for the OSU Rodeo women’s team, which secured the Central Plains Region Women’s Team Championship at the final rodeo, held in April at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. Team member Kenna McNeill was named the Central Plains All-Around Champion Cowgirl.
From the men’s team, LJ Yeahquo was named Central Plains Region champion heeler, and Cody Huwa was named Central Plains Region reserve champion heeler.
This year marks McNeill’s third appearance at the CNFR. She said she looks forward to the CNFR each year because it gives her the opportunity to meet new people and represent OSU. She added the team is headed into this year’s competition ready to compete at their highest level.
“I feel more prepared this year than I have in the past,” McNeill said. “I think our team has an incredible amount of tenacity. It’s going to be a great week for our team.”
OSU Rodeo coach Cody Hollingsworth said expectations are high for this year’s athletes headed to the CNFR.
“I am very excited about this year’s CNFR qualifiers,” Hollingsworth said. “I believe they are all strong competitors with a chance to do well in each of their events.”
Hollingsworth, who has served as the OSU Rodeo coach for a decade, has coached dozens of athletes to the CNFR, but he says the excitement is always fresh.
“This is the largest group we have had qualify since I have been here, and I think it is great to have such a talented group of student athletes representing Oklahoma State University,” Hollingsworth said.
He added that competing at the CNFR not only helps celebrate the athletes’ successful seasons, but it also reflects the strength and growth of the OSU Rodeo program over the years.
“I think it is key to building a program to have a consistent presence at the CNFR,” Hollingsworth said. “Having students not only qualify but do well each year shows incoming students and students interested in OSU Rodeo it can be done, and we have the foundation to help them get there.”
Representing OSU at the 2022 CNFR will be:
- Cheyenne Bartling, recreation management and recreation therapy student from Sand Springs, Oklahoma — goat tying and breakaway roping
- Ethan Griffin, agribusiness student from Eucha, Oklahoma — team roping header
- Cody Huwa, agribusiness student from Roggen, Colorado — team roping heeler
- Kenna McNeill, animal science student from Hobbs, New Mexico — goat tying and barrel racing
- Lexie Russell, animal science student from Gainesville, Texas — breakaway roping
- LJ Yeahquo, management student from Crescent, Oklahoma — team roping heeler
The OSU Rodeo Team is part of the university’s Ferguson College of Agriculture. The team has been a member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association since 1948 and competes in the Central Plains Region. For more information, visit rodeo.okstate.edu.