CASPER, Wyo. — The Montana State women's rodeo team increased its lead to more than 100 points Friday heading into the short go at the College National Finals Rodeo in the Ford Wyoming Center.
The Bobcats, with sophomore rookie Paige Rasmussen leading in goat tying and freshman Tayla Moeykens fourth in barrel racing, had 430 points to lead runner-up Southwestern Oklahoma State by 120. Dickinson State was third at 163 and Oklahoma State fourth with 160.
The MSU women have won two national championships: In 2011 and 1986.
The MSU men, led by first-place Caleb Berquist in tie-down roping, were eighth with 295 points, well behind leader Clarenden College of Texas (565).
Rasmussen, of Belgrade, has scored 180 points on her own by finishing first in two of the three go-rounds and tied for third in her middle run. Goat tying teammate Lindsey Pulsipher of Oakley, Idaho, who is in 13th place, has contributed 85 points.
Moeykens, of Three Forks, has three-run time of 42.85 after posting a 14.10 on Friday night and has scored 160 points. She's just .15 behind leader Jaylie Matthews of East Mississippi State Community College. Dickinson State's Lakken Bice is second at 42.78 and Southwestern Oklahoma State's Sadie Wolaver is third at 42.82.
Fellow barrel racer Shai McDonald, a sophomore from Gardiner, is sixth and would add 50 points to the score but her time isn't counting toward the team total. McDonald's overall time is 43.08 and she will compete in the short go.
Senior breakaway roper Shelby Rasmussen is in 20th place but chipped in with five points with her 2.7 time in the second go-round. Montana Western's Ryland Lufkin is 18th but her 2.6 time in the second go-round for breakaway roping gave the Bulldog women 20 points.
On the men's side, Berquist, a junior from LaCrosse, Washington, leads the tie-down roping by 3.1 seconds entering the short go with a 26.2 average for 190 points. With times of 8.8, 8.7 and 8.7 he's the only cowboy to finishing in under nine seconds in all three go-rounds.
Tie-down roping teammate Levi Delamarter, a junior from Longview, Washington, is in fifth place at 34.3 seconds and has provided MSU with 55 points.
Bobcat team ropers Teegan Leno, a freshman from Sheridan, Wyoming, and Jaret Whitman, a senior from Belgrade, are 13th and have scored 50 points. Steer wrestler Cody Faulkner, a junior from Gooding, Idaho, is 12th.
For Montana Western, bareback rider Brody Smith, a senior from Oakley, Idaho, sits in seventh place with a 227.0 average for 45 points. Steer wrestler Bryce Harrison, a junior from Condon, Oregon, also is seventh with a 24.6 average and 20 points.
MSU's Rasmussen, Moeykens, Berquist and Delamarter all qualified for Saturday's short go. Harrison and Smith advanced for Montana Western.