Bulldoggers Rodeo Team advances five qualifiers to nationals

Members of the Fresno State Rodeo Team compete in the Team Roping event during the Bulldoggers’ annual college rodeo held in Clovis the weekend of March 10-11, 2018. (Valerie Shelton/Clovis Roundup)

Five members of the Fresno State rodeo team are headed to Casper, Wyoming, to compete in the College National Finals Rodeo from June 10 to 16.

Under the guidance of third-year coach Tony Branquinho, Fresno State will send four men’s qualifiers: senior Colton Campbell (Klamath Falls, Oregon), junior Bodi Dodds (Sanger) and sophomores Jacob Bairos (Modesto) and Mitchell Parham (Clovis).

Campbell will compete in the team roping header event and ranks first in the region and sixth nationally. Dodds ranks second regionally and 15th nationally in tie-down roping, Bairos ranks third regionally and 19th nationally in steer wrestling and Parham ranks first regionally in bareback riding.

Fresno State’s women’s qualifier, sophomore Meagan Kautz (Santa Clarita), will compete in barrel racing. She ranks first regionally and fifth nationally. Her horse, Whip, was also named the regional horse of the year, as was men’s team member Rial Engelhardt’s horse, Vaquero.

Men’s and women’s individual qualifiers were selected based on their combined West Coast region standings over 10 competitions from September through the last event, hosted on May 4 and 5 by University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In the regional team rankings, the Bulldoggers men capped the regular season ranked 17th nationally and third in the West Coast region — one position shy of a national invitation. The women’s team also stood third regionally.

In recent years, the women’s team has advanced to the national event after second-place regional finishes in 2015 and 2016.

Campbell is Fresno State’s top returning competitor who will return to Casper after a fourth-place team roping heeler finish in 2016. His horse, Nic-N-Pine, also received the 2016 NIRA/American Quarter Horse Association Horse of the Year award.

Last year, Campbell was one of only six competitors who scored in at least two of the six men’s events thanks to his 19th-place finish in the team roping and 27th-place finish in tie-down roping.

Dodds also competed in the team roping event in 2017 and placed 19th overall.

Barrios, Parham and Kautz will make their first appearances at the event.