Bobcat Rodeo Team Heads West to Miles City for Weekend Rodeo

BOZEMAN, Montana – In just one weekend, a highly successful one for the Montana State men’s and women’s rodeo teams, the spring season turned the corner into the 2021-22 home stretch.

With seven of the campaign’s 10 rodeos in the books, both MSU teams dominate the Big Sky Region. The Bobcats lead the men’s standings with 4,414.50 points, substantially ahead of UM Western’s 2,821.50 points. The women’s team dominates even more emphatically, with a 3,053.83 to 1,661 lead over MSU Northern.

While the team races have been largely decided, much work lies ahead on an individual basis. Whitaker fells the urgency. “I want to see us continue to improve,” he said. “We’re getting down to crunch time so the ones that need to make a move I hope can step it up and the ones that are up there I hope keep the pedal to the metal. Don’t let up, keep bringing your A game and take care of business.”

The MSU Spring Rodeo was something of a mixed bag in terms of results. While the Bobcat men rallied to win the second rodeo after finishing behind Northwest College (Wyoming) in the first event, the women’s team took care of business in both outings. After seven rodeos, MSU athletes lead two of the three women’s events and three of the seven men’s competitions. Tayla Moeykens is first in the region in barrel racing, while Paige Rasmussen stands atop the goat tying. Caleb Berquistthe region men’s all-around leader, also leads the tie-down roping and team roping header, while Teegan Leno stands on top of the team roping heeler.

“I was pretty happy” with his team’s effort last weekend, Whitaker said. “Obviously the first rodeo the guys didn’t have their strongest performance, but the girls did. They dominated. I had a lot of fun watching them. I thought our young kids, the freshmen, made a lot of improvement from last fall to the spring. We had some talented (freshman) girls last fall but you could tell were thinking about the step up in competition going from high school to college. so that’s encouraging. You like to see progress.”

Whitaker credited the work of his team did in the off-season with having it ready to perform right out of the chutes in the spring. “We started our workouts this winter and I thought that helped. Any little edge you can get, if you’re a little stronger or a little more flexible, helps a little bit.”

Still, the condensed nature of the spring puts a premium on performing well every time out, continuing with this weekend’s rodeo at Miles Community College. The Big Sky Region teams compete all day Friday and Saturday.

“It’s an unusual setup,” he said, “and that makes your preparation going into (the spring season) really important. You need to be clicking on all cylinders right out of the gate, you can’t have a couple of off rodeos to warm up. You’ve got to get going right away.”


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