CASPER, Wyo. – Recent Chadron State College graduate Brianna Williams of Buffalo, S.D., finished fourth in breakaway roping at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper on Saturday night.
Williams caught her calf in the finals in 5.3 seconds, which was sixth in the go-round, but the important thing was she made the catch. She was one of just seven breakaway ropers among the 58 contestants to lasso all four of her calves. Her total time on the four runs was 17.9 seconds.
Williams is the fifth Chadron State cowgirl to place among the top four at the CNFR in breakaway roping. The previous four were Jean Fuch of Thedford, who was first in 1978; the late Kathy Kennedy of Channing, Texas, first in 1979; Kerry Becker of Hyannis, fourth in 2005; and Jennifer Nelson of Hartford, S.D., third in 2005.
The breakaway winner at this year’s national finals is Zoie Bedke of Idaho State University, who completed her four runs in 10.3 seconds. The runner-up is Courtney Peters of Black Hills State in 11.3, followed by Catherine Clayton of Cochise County College in Arizona in 13.7 seconds.
Fifth place went to Grace Felton of Lassen College in California in 20.0 seconds. The others who caught four calves are Hannah Phillips of Sam Houston State in Texas in 21.0 seconds and Jayce Blake of Trinity Valley Community College in Texas in 30.1 seconds.
Williams said she practiced “pretty hard” the past few weeks after she and teammates Quincy Segelke of Rozet, Wyo., and Phannette Gray of Ridgeview, S.D., qualified as a team for the national finals by finishing second in the Central Rocky Mountain Region’s women’s team standings for the year.
She added that during the competition at the finals, she primarily had two things in mind: Don’t break the barrier and catch the calf. She was successful on both counts.
While the three contestants who finished ahead of her had faster times in nearly every go-round, all three of those who placed directly behind her broke the barrier at least once. And, the 46 who didn’t make the finals as well as five of the finalists failed to catch at least one calf.
Williams rode a borrowed horse during the finals. That was Ratchet, a bay mare belonging to Jayde Adkins Trump, a former Chadron State contestant from Broken Bow, Neb., who still lives in the Chadron area. She had to borrow Ratchet after her own horse, Snapper, was sidelined by a hoof problem.
“I really appreciate Jayde letting me borrow Ratchet,” Williams said. “She’s a great horse and we get along well.”