Diné students qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo

May 14, 2014

CNFR StudentsMesalands Community College is pleased to announce that four students from the Navajo Nation will be competing in the biggest college rodeo competition of the year, the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR). The 2015 CNFR will be held on June 14-20, 2015 in Casper, WY. The Mesalands Rodeo Team will have seven student athletes competing at the 2015 CNFR, the second highest number in the State of New Mexico.

The following Diné students from the Navajo Nation earned their ticket to compete at the 2015 CNFR: sophomore Edmiles Harvey from Tsalini Springs, AZ (bareback riding); sophomore Adriano Long from Dilkon, AZ (bull riding); freshmen Chance Hunter and Tyler Sam both from Chinle, AZ (team roping).

Edmiles Harvey was the first CNFR qualifier on the Mesalands Community College Rodeo Team. He won the bareback riding championship titles at both the fall and spring rodeos at Mesalands Community College this year. He ended the season in first place and brought home the Grand Canyon Region bareback riding championship title, in the year-end standings. This will be Harvey’s second consecutive qualification for the CNFR.

“I actually feel pretty good. I kind of already knew I was going to qualify early on in the season,” Harvey said. “My main focus was to win the regional title, which I did, and my goal now is to train for the college finals.”

Adriano Long electrified the bull riding event this year. At the last rodeo of the region at New Mexico State University, Long was crowned the bull riding champion. He was the only bull rider at the rodeo to cover two bulls. Long held his second position in the regional standings and won the reserve regional championship title. His performance this season has earned him his first ticket to the college finals.

“It’s kind of like a dream come true. I’ve been here for four years and I finally made it, and it’s been a big weight off my shoulders,” Long said. “I don’t feel nervous or any kind of pressure about competing at the college finals. All I know is that I have to ride my bull, and if I stay on, I’m bound to win something.”

Team ropers freshmen Chance Hunter (header) and Tyler Sam (heeler) will be competing at the college national finals for the first time. They both will be competing with student athletes from other colleges in the region at the college finals.

“It feels great to be competing at the college finals. It was a good year. I feel like our Team is going in the right direction,” Sam said. “The staff and teachers at Mesalands have been really helpful. Coach Tim is a really a good guy and he wants you to succeed in life and in the real-world. I think he deserved this honor.”

Timothy Abbott, Interim Intercollegiate Rodeo Coach at Mesalands Community College, was also named the 2015 Grand Canyon Region Coach-of-the-Year.

“As a whole, I thought it was an outstanding year for the Mesalands Rodeo Team. To qualify seven out of our 21 contestants for the college national finals, is outstanding!” said Coach Abbott. “We know what we need to work on and we are ready to practice and work harder, as we get ready to compete at the 2015 CNFR.”

Sam who has only been competing in rodeo for the last three years, explains the significance of heading to the college finals with teammates Harvey, Long, and Hunter.

“I think it’s really cool because we come from small towns and my parents didn’t even go to college,” Sam said. “I hope one of us wins the college finals. It just shows other kids from the Navajo Nation, or wherever they’re from, that they can do it. You just have to give it 110 percent and go from there.”