UW’s Hurlburt Jumps To 4th In CNFR Steer Wrestling, Patterson 8th Saddle Broncs

Brice Patterson, of Bozeman, Mont., covered his bareback bronc ride Thursday night at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper to put him eighth in the average. (Lauren Miller, Casper Star-Tribune Photo)

It’s a good thing that Austin Hurlburt took a couple of days off to go back to his home state in Nebraska to not think about his final steer wrestling run at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper.

The University of Wyoming senior competed in a couple of pro steer wrestling competitions near his Norfolk, Neb., hometown and returned Thursday afternoon just in time to record his strongest CNFR bulldogging run of the week, when he wrestled his steer in 5.1 seconds. That elevated him to fourth in the average with a three-round time of 19 seconds.

Another UW team member is sitting right there in his own short go bid. Brice Patterson, from Bozeman, Mont., had a 70-point bareback ride earlier in the evening, giving him 215.5 total points on three head, putting him eighth in the average.

Being gone for two days and not knowing what was going on in the CNFR’s third round actually helped Hurlburt. He said he knew if he recorded a good time that he would be in decent shape in the average. It turned out to be better than expected.

“My mind is still kind of racing,” he said as he tried to comprehend that he will more than likely qualify for his first CNFR short go. “It was just nice to get away, relax and to hang out with some pro guys. I haven’t been back to the college finals since my freshman year and have not had any luck making it back. It would be my first time in the short go, and I’m excited. The stands should be packed, and it will be fun.”

It was not the ride that Patterson was looking for, but the UW bareback rider scored enough points to stay in the average. Now, it’s wait and see if he secures a short go bid Saturday. One more section of riders remains who can bump him from the top 12. That is the magic number of competitors who will secure bids for the short go round.

During his ride, Good Times stumbled a bit, throwing Patterson’s timing off. He recovered enough for a qualified ride.

“That horse was pretty dang strong, and I knew that coming in,” Patterson said. “But it was not the high points I was hoping for.”

He will be up on his final steer wrestling run tonight (Friday), but his eyes will be on the bronc riding competition.

“It’s sit on your pockets, and then the (scoring) sheets will come out for how I ended up in the bareback riding,” he said.

UW team member Garrett Uptain finished his three rounds of saddle bronc competition when he rode Lone Bear to 63 points. The Craig, Colo., graduate student, who won the regional bareback riding title this past season, had a tough week. He scored just 61.5 points in his opening ride and was tossed in the second round. He finished with 124.5 points on three head.

He has one more bull to ride tonight; he has yet to mark on two head.