CASPER, Wyo. — After two rounds of tie-down roping at the College National Finals Rodeo, Montana State’s Caleb Berquist and Levi Delamarter are first and fifth in the average standings.
Berquist, after a time of 8.8 seconds Tuesday morning, leads the way. He had a time of 8.7 seconds in the first round. Delamarter improved on his 10.9 seconds from the first round to post 9.1 seconds on Tuesday.
Berquist, a junior, notched his second sub-9-second score.
"Very excited. Very thankful," he said. "Just got to keep closing the gap, keep making sure we do the simple things right and just slow down and be confident and be smooth, and we'll just see how the rocks lay."
He had a good idea of what the steer might do, thanks to the competitor who had him in the first go-round.
"I went and asked him and he told me exactly what he did, and when I roped him, he did exactly what he told me," Berquist said. "He said he was going to go out there and drop off to the right, and that's exactly what he did."
This is Berquist's first trip to the CNFR. The key to his success so far, he said, has been a mixture of both the physical and the mental.
"My horsepower helps me a lot," Berquist said. "The other thing that I think helps me is if I mentally slow down, I think that gives me the best advantage. Probably the reason I didn't make it last year is I make simple mistakes, get ahead of myself, and I think that's what cost me.
"So as long as I can stay ahead of myself and tell myself to slow down and do the steps right, I think that gives me the best opportunity."
In Tuesday morning's slack competition, Berquist was the third of more than 40 competitors in his section to enter the arena.
"I did like going early today," Berquist said. "I knew I had a good one down in the first round. I wanted to knock a second one down. And then after that, there wasn't anything I could do. Which I don't mind, but it'll be backwards now because I don't go until Friday. So I'll be the last run. Just keep trying to do myself and not try to outdo others and get 'em roped and we'll see how it goes."
Also Tuesday, MSU’s Paige Rasmussen still leads the goat tying with an average of 12.6 seconds. She paired her first-round time of 6.0 seconds with a run of 6.6 seconds on Tuesday to give her a lead of .2 seconds through two rounds.
Teammates Hailey Garrison (14.9 second average) and Lindsey Pulsipher (15.2 second average) are 20th and 24th in the event.
Through two rounds of team roping, MSU's Cody and Jake Faulkner are 20th overall, with a mark of 7.4 seconds along with a no score. Jaret Whitman and Teegan Leno are in a tie for 27th (11.4 seconds and a no score).
Cody Faukner is 17th in the steer wrestling after posting a time of 21.5 seconds in the second round. Whitman and Kolby Currin, after both received no score in the first round, bounced back with times of 8.0 seconds and 9.3 seconds, respectively, in the second round.
In the barrel racing, the Bobcats' Tayla Moeykens clocked in at 14.51 seconds in the second round, which dropped her to eighth overall in the average (28.75 seconds) after being first with a 14.24-second ride in her first attempt. Shai McDonald, who ran 14.62 in her first attempt, got faster with a 14.20-second time in the second round. She sits 11th overall in the average.
Clancy Glenn took a no score in the second round of the saddle bronc riding, putting him 25th overall. In the bareback bronc riding, Ethan Frasier is 24th overall following a 54.5-point ride in the second round.
MSU's Shelby Rasmussen was ninth in breakaway roping with a 2.7 mark.
Also Tuesday, Ryland Lufkin of Montana Western was seventh in breakaway roping with a time of 2.6 seconds.
The Bulldogs' Bryce Garrison is sixth in the average at 15.3, 4.6 behind the leader in steer wrestling.