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MPCC Rodeo athletes reflect on cancellation of College National Finals Rodeo

JD Draper (right) prepares to wrestle a steer at the MPCC Stampede last fall. Draper finished the collegiate rodeo season third in the nation. (Credit: MPCC Athletics)
JD Draper (right) prepares to wrestle a steer at the MPCC Stampede last fall. Draper finished the collegiate rodeo season third in the nation. (Credit: MPCC Athletics)(KNOP)
Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 6:26 PM CDT
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The College National Finals Rodeo was originally scheduled to be held in Casper, WY from June 14-20. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was cancelled.

Mid-Plains Community College had seven rodeo athletes qualify for the CNFR during the fall season; JD Draper, Danielle Wray, Chance Williams, Wyatt Williams, Koby Jacobson, Wyatt Schaack, and Austin Madison.

"I was really looking forward to it," said Wray, who competed at the CNFR last year. "I was looking forward to being more prepared, because I knew what the set up was this time, and I knew what had to be done. I felt like this year, I would have been more prepared."

"We were ready for them, we practiced hard looking and ready to go rodeo out there at the college finals," said Chance Williams. "I was a little heartbroken, I'm a little sad still, but there's nothing you can really do."

"For me, I was kind of a disappointed, I'm still disappointed about it, I wish they would have it," Wyatt Williams said.

Like Wray, Wyatt Williams competed at the CNFR last year, and was looking forward to returning this year.

"I thought it was a great experience, it was pretty fun. I like the idea of being able to compete against some of the best, and from other regions, it was quite a lot of fun actually. I wish I was going again this year," Wyatt Williams said.

Wray said she spoke with some of the other MPCC athletes who had qualified about the experience of the CNFR, and making a return this year.

"We were all really looking forward to it, there are a lot of fun activities that go with making the college finals, so we did talk about it in a little bit. For a lot of us, it just pushes you, especially kids that have not qualified before, this pushes them to go harder in the fall," Wray said.

Looking at the bright side of the situation, the Williams brothers are taking the extra time to practice their roping skills, while Wray is looking ahead to next year.

"They're going to have another one next year, so people that are down about it, you can just know that you did your job to put you in the position where going to the college finals is even an option. But, if you did it once, you can do it again," Wray said.

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