Dias and Campbell lead Bulldoggers at Collegiate National Finals Rodeo

Contributed photo – Colton Campbell and his horse, Nic-N-Pine, received the 2016 NIRA/American Quarter Horse Association Horse of the Year award.

Contributed

Freshman Brittany Dias (Hanford) and sophomore Colton Campbell (Klamath Falls, Oregon) led the Fresno State rodeo team with top-four individual finishes at the 68th annual College National Finals Rodeo, June 12 to 18, in Casper, Wyoming.

Dias’ reserve champion finish in women’s breakaway roping spurred Fresno State to a 10th-place women’s team finish. She was also named the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Women’s Rookie of the Year for the overall and breakaway event and received a $2,250 scholarship.

Campbell finished fourth in the team roping healer event to help the Fresno State men’s team tie for 32nd. He and his horse, Nic-N-Pine, also received the 2016 NIRA/American Quarter Horse Association Horse of the Year award.

“To have two top-four finishes was fantastic, and I was extremely proud of how all six of our athletes were great ambassadors for the University at nationals and all season,” said Tony Branquinho, Fresno State rodeo coach. “Brittany was never fazed by how many thousands of people were in the stands. She rode very focused, got out of the barrier really well and used her head. Colton and his partner roped toe-to-toe with the best collegians. The first two steers they drew were really tough, but they hung in there and took care of business. The honor for his horse was equally impressive and the first for a West Coast rider in five years.”

Campbell and his event partner Lane Lowry of Cuesta Community College tallied a four-round average of 28.9 seconds for 105 points.

Dias posted an 11.6-second combined time for the breakaway roping event’s four rounds for an overall score of 185 points. In the overall standings, her combined time was 0.7 seconds behind Kirbie Crouse, a sophomore from Missouri Valley College, who won the event with a 10.9-second combined time.

Fresno State junior Cynthia Konda (Terra Bella) finished 38th in the barrel racing standings with a 49.27-second combined time. Senior Tegan Turner (Lemoore) took 45th in the goat-tying standings with a combined time of 14.1 seconds. Sophomore Jamie Giefer (Springville) tied for 47th in the breakaway event.

In the men’s steer wrestling competition, junior Dillon Hushour (Fairfield) placed 13th. He clocked a 4.8-second mark in the second round for his best time of the opening three rounds.

Campbell also competed in steer wrestling and ranked 26th with a combined time of 16 seconds. He posted times of 6.7 seconds in the second round and 9.3 seconds in the opening round.

Complete results are available at http://www.collegerodeo.com/cnfr/cnfr-2016-results.

The Bulldoggers capped a successful year under the guidance of the first-year coach Branquinho, who joined the team last fall thanks to a gift of more than $300,000 over five years from Central Valley Rodeo Inc. that will also pay for equipment and facility improvements.

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