After a handful of rodeos that included travel, the Central Washington University rodeo club is home this weekend, holding its annual scheduled stop on the college rodeo circuit.

A group of CWU athletes, along with an assembly of non-competing club members, will host many collegiate rodeo teams — comprised of junior colleges to four-year universities — from around the Northwest.

Up for grabs, paychecks to the top placers as well as coveted go-round and average points, which count toward qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo in June.

Fresh off last weekend’s trip to New Plymouth, Idaho, just east of Oregon’s Treasure Valley Community College, a few CWU contestants come into the Ellensburg Rodeo arena with some momentum in the second-to-last tour stop of the season.

Junior tie-down roper Trey Recanzone won New Plymouth’s Friday performance and placed second to Walla Walla’s Calgary Smith (who was second to Recanzone on Friday) during Saturday’s performance. The result? Recanzone extended his lead in the standings over Blue Mountain Community College’s Preston Pederson.

“Last weekend, the calf roping honestly couldn’t have gone much better,” Recanzone said earlier this week. First and second, I’m not really going to complain. Things are looking good for me.”

Placing well this weekend will lock the roper’s bid for the CNFR, but he’s trying not to focus on that.

“The more I worry about the year-end instead of the next run, it gets to me,” he admitted. “I need to let everything shake out. I think that’s the difference between this year and the last two years. The first year or two, I had freshman-itis, I let the pressure get to me. I’ve kind of settled down and am more experienced in collegiate rodeo. I know a bit more what to expect. Veterans learn to go with it. Make the best of what you’ve got.”

And he’s also aware that while he has a lead in the Northwest region’s tie-down roping standings — and is currently ranked fourth in the national standings — there are some talented ropers nipping at his heels.

“Preston, Calgary and a few others, they can get it on and get some points,” Recanzone said. “My plan for the next couple of weekends is get ‘em caught and be smooth on the ground.”

Recanzone is one of a few CWU ropers sitting in the top 10 of their respective standings. Wade Bruemmer is seventh in the event, but is also the region’s top-ranked roper in the team roping header standings (15th nationally). Bruemmer ropes with Lewis and Clark State College’s Dillon Bahem and the duo placed second in last Friday’s team roping. Close behind Bruemmer and Bahem is the CWU team of Riley Eres and Chance Gleave. The duo placed in the top six both nights last weekend in Idaho and are ranked third in the header/heeler standings. A strong weekend in Ellensburg will keep their CNFR hopes strong.

Also among the top 10 in the region’s team roping is Michael Anderson — heading for Recanzone. The duo placed sixth last Saturday in Idaho and are eighth on the season.

CWU’s women are best represented in barrel racing where three athletes are ranked in the Northwest region’s top 15, led by Camille Morris in seventh. Morris opened last weekend’s barrel racing with a solid 18.05-second pattern — which was the second fastest time of the entire weekend — but was unable to crack the top 10 on Saturday. Taylor Turner (18.47, fifth) and Lindsay Sogge (18.54, seventh) placed for CWU on Saturday. Turner is 13th in the region. Bailey Nachtigal is 10th.

This weekend’s events are somewhat separated as Friday’s performance is a stand-alone, one-header rodeo. Saturday’s Todd Anderson Memorial Rodeo, along with Sunday’s short round, is a two-round average where contestants can earn go-round and average points toward the standings, in addition to checks for winning or placing in each event. Beyond the competition in the arena, fans can compete for silent auction items as they have year after year. The auction opens Friday night and closes at the start of the Sunday’s short round. Proceeds from the auction go toward scholarships for CWU rodeo members.

Admission for the weekend is free. All events take place at the Ellensburg Rodeo arena.


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