CNFR roughstock roundup: Bulls dominate riders with 13 consecutive no-scores

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The bulls of the College National Finals Rodeo continued their domination over the nation’s best collegiate riders by forcing 13 consecutive no-scores during Tuesday’s slack at the Casper Events Center before Panhandle State senior Jeff Bertus finally covered.


Bertus’ long-awaited mark of 68.5, naturally, allowed the senior the option to re-ride. Instead of taking the conservative route, though, he accepted the invitation, ignoring the failures of his competition to improve on his score by recording a 71.5.


Bertus’ decision was largely based on his inability to cover in his first go. A 68.5 by itself would not have been enough to compensate for a no-score, he thought, and so he took the calculated risk with hopes of bettering his chances at competing for a title.


“Sometimes it’s harder than you’d like, but you just got to try to stay positive and keep a good attitude about it,” Bertus said of the bulls’ bucking proficiency.


Iowa Central Community College’s Ethan Hecht was the only other bull rider to cover in Tuesday’s slack. The sophomore recorded a 70.5 to place him in 13th place, two spots behind Bertus.


Like Bertus, Hecht did his best to not let the competition affect his approach. He also no-scored in his first go-round and, even if he had, he said his mentality didn’t waver.


“Sorry for everybody that’s not covering, but it’s good for me,” Hecht said. “The way it’s looking, I can go back to the short-go just by covering two head. I don’t got to get all three covered in order to make it back.


“You can’t ride against other people,” he added. “You have to just ride against your bull. You just try to monkey up, as it’s called, and get one rode. Because if you try to do that, to be conservative, a lot of times your bull is just going to buck you off. You just have to go 100 percent all the time. ”


Bareback Bronc Riding

Tennessee-Martin’s Tyler Waltz reclaimed the top spot in the bareback on Tuesday with a second go-round score of 78 for an average score of 160.


The senior recorded a mark of 82 in his first go-round as just one of two people, along with Feather River College’s Grant Denny, to record a score of more than 80 in the first two go-rounds. Denny sits in second place with an average score of 154.5, while Waltz was able to maintain his success to jump back in first place.


Waltz rode Southwick Rodeo Company’s Bad Karma on Tuesday, which he said was his second quality draw of the college finals.


“It was a little tough to sleep last night. I just tied to ease my mind and go to sleep and pray for the best,” Waltz said. “I spurred him out and just did all he let me do. I was just trying to keep him even and keep him as good as he could be.”


This is Waltz’s third and final CNFR. He came in 11th as a freshman and sixth last year as a junior, as he missed the college finals his sophomore year after blowing out his left knee.


He said he’s more relaxed this year than he was in the past now that he has some experience. Now the focus, he and his coach John Luthi said, is on making the most of this last opportunity.


“You’ve just go to take what you can get and make the best of it, and so far it’s worked out. You can’t control anything else,” Luthi said. “If you don’t, you beat yourself. And that’s pretty frustrating, too.”


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