SHERIDAN — Nothing can slow down Sheridan College General Zeke Thurston. Thurston moved into the number one spot in the region after a tremendous saddle bronc ride this past weekend in Laramie, scoring 78 points in the long round and a 74 in the short round to punch his ticket to the College National Finals Rodeo.
Thurston placed second in the round and first in the average moving ahead 10 points to take the top spot.
Thurston’s teammate Taygen Schuelke battled for the Reserve All-Around position to be able to head to the CNFR in two events.
“This wasn’t easy,” rodeo coach Marc Gilkerson said. “There were two people hot on his heels all weekend trying to earn their spot as well.”
In the long round, Schuelke got bucked off his bull but that didn’t stop him. Schuelke had two other events to help him get to the all-around.
In team roping, Schuelke and his partner Lane Foster roped their steer in the long round for a time of 9.6 seconds qualifying them in the seventh spot in the short round. In the short round they roped their steer in 9.7 seconds, placing second in the round and reserving the second seat in the average. This helped Schuelke move further into the all-around.
Barely getting by in the long round, Schuelke scored a 60 in saddle bronc, moving into the short round. He dominated, flying past his teammate to first place in the short round with a ride of 76 points and securing second in the average. After all the sweat and blood, Schuelke earned the Reserve All-Around title. Schuelke will compete in his top two events at the CNFR — bull riding and saddle bronc riding.
The General’s Logan Schaper qualified for the short round with a time of 10.6 seconds on a tough steer in the long round. The steer in the short round would not allow Schaper to throw him down.
“Sheridan represented well in the saddle bronc riding for the year as five Generals placed top in the region,” Gilkerson said.
Thurston placed number one in the region and Schuelke took the number four spot, while Dillon Barkshire is sitting in sixth, Tayte Clark is seventh, and Kash Deal ended up ninth.
Sheridan’s Cashlee Cunningham and Teddi Schwagler made the short round in the goat tying. Cunningham tied her goat in 8.3 seconds in the long round and came back eighth in the short round. Taking a hard fall Cunningham went for it and finished strong, Gilkerson said.
“Cunningham didn’t place this time,” Gilkerson said. “But next year she will be a tough competitor.”
Schwagler won the long round with a time of 7.6 seconds, however in the short round her goat did not stay down, which bumped Schwagler out of the average. Schwagler ended up seventh in the region.
In barrel racing, Sheridan’s Annie Novotny had a time of 15.27 seconds in the long round, placing second. With consistency in the short round, Novotny ran a time of 15.30 seconds, placing fourth in the round and fifth in the average. Novotny finished eighth in the region.
“Jayne Lauweryssen didn’t have the weekend she was hoping for but ended up seventh in the all-around race against a very competitive group,” Gilkerson said.
The men’s team placed third in the region with 3,650 points and the women placed fourth with 970 points.
“I am very proud of the SC rodeo team,” Gilkerson said. “The season may be over, but they all have a bright future ahead of them.”
Thurston and Schuelke will compete at the CNFR June 15-21 in Casper at the events center.