COLLEGE RODEO: Wranglers set for first CNFR appearance since 1989 - Odessa American: Odessa College

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COLLEGE RODEO: Wranglers set for first CNFR appearance since 1989

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Posted: Saturday, June 9, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 12:38 pm, Wed Aug 29, 2012.

Kelly Doster said he remembers the conversation vividly.

Three years ago that he sat in a chair, across from Odessa College president Gregory Williams, and made a promise during his interview to be the next head coach of the Wranglers rodeo team.

“I told him that the Odessa College men’s rodeo team was going to the College National Finals Rodeo in five years,” Doster said. “That was the plan I told him when I interviewed. To have it done in three years is real satisfying.”

The Odessa College men’s team finished second in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Southwest Region during the spring to qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo, which starts today and runs through Saturday at the Casper Events Center in Casper, Wyo.

The trip marks the first time the Wranglers have qualified as a men’s team since 1989. Odessa College won the national title that season.

Jim Watkins, Odessa College’s coach at that time, said he’s ecstatic that his predecessor has enjoyed success.

“I’m very happy for Kelly and the team,” said Watkins, who retired from his previous position after the 2009 season. “Kelly has brought in some great recruits that have worked well together.”

Odessa College’s Dustin Bowen is the last men’s rodeo athlete Watkins recruited and is part of this year’s groundbreaking team.

Bowen is one of six Odessa College cowboys — the top six scorers on the squad per NIRA rules — who will compete in the CNFR. He will join Clint Laye, Layne Norton, Tyler Rees, Austin Tomaski and Ryan Tripp.

“We’ve got a special group of guys,” Bowen said. “Since the beginning of the season we’ve been set on trying to accomplish goals as a team. Coach Doster has always said that if you’re not trying to win for the guy next to you, you’re not doing it for the right reason.”

Bowen is competing in both bull riding and bareback riding for the Wranglers in his second consecutive CNFR appearance. He competes today along with Laye, who is in bareback.

Everybody is in action Monday and Tuesday for the Wranglers.

Norton is in tie-down roping while Tripp and Tomaski are together in team roping. Rees also is in team roping along with Eastern New Mexico’s Trey Southern.

 “It’s a pretty cool feeling to go as a team to nationals,” said Norton, who will compete in calf roping. “Usually you see a lot of individuals compete but we’re able to take six guys who helped out the team this season. I’m just glad I was one of them.”

>> OC competition schedule 

TODAY

1 p.m., Performance

Dustin Bowen, bareback riding; bull riding

Clint Laye, bareback riding

———

MONDAY

7 a.m., Slack

Dustin Bowen, bareback riding

Clint Laye, bareback riding

Layne Norton, tie-down roping

Tyler Rees, team roping (with Eastern New Mexico’s Trey Southern)

Austin Tomaski and Ryan Tripp, team roping

———

TUESDAY

7 a.m., Slack

Dustin Bowen, bull riding

Layne Norton, tie-down roping

Tyler Rees, team roping (with Eastern New Mexico’s Trey Southern)

Austin Tomaski and Ryan Tripp, team roping

7 p.m., Performance

Dustin Bowen, bull riding

Clint Laye, bareback riding

Austin Tomaski and Ryan Tripp, team roping

———

FRIDAY

7 p.m., Performance

Dustin Bowen, bareback riding

Layne Norton, tie-down roping

Tyler Rees, team roping (with Eastern New Mexico’s Trey Southern)

———

SATURDAY

Finals (top 10 in each event qualify)

>> Follow Carlos Silva Jr. on Twitter at @OASilvaJr

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