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Vikings off to solid start at CNFR

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CASPER, Wyo. -- The four-time NIRA Ozark Region champion Missouri Valley College men's rodeo team is in 15th place with 85 points after the first two days of the College National Finals Rodeo at Casper, Wyo.

Four of the Vikings' seven entries scored points during the first "go" on Sunday and Monday, led by senior Will Smith of Lugoff, S.C. He got 77.5 points in his first saddle bronc ride, putting him in second place for the completed round.

Junior Tanner Aus of Granite Falls, Minn., claimed 74.5 points in bareback riding to tie for seventh place and senior David Clapp of Lykens, Pa., recorded a 70.5 for 20th place. Clapp slipped in the second preliminary round, his 64.0 putting him 13th among the 19 entries to mount up -- with 18 more to go today, including Aus.

Clapp wasn't able to get to eight seconds on either of his first two attempts at bull riding, but is not eliminated from a shot at the finals.

Of 19 riders who have gone twice, none completed both rides and only six have scored -- along with two more who went the distance in their first and only go. Senior teammate Will Crain of Farina, Ill., is among those thrown their first time around, with his second turn today.

Freshman heeler Ben Runyon of Tallula, Ill., and his partner -- Southern Arkansas' Justin Johnson -- timed in at 11.3 seconds to share ninth place in team roping. Sophomore Cody Metsker of Taylorville, Ill., posted a 5.4-second score in steer wrestling to end the first round in a tie for 12th place.

Upon arriving at the meet Thursday, MVC head coach Ken Mason -- who led his team to the reserve national championship a year ago -- was named the NIRA "coach of the year."

All of the Vikings' entries, except Clapp in bareback, are in action today -- Clapp with his final preliminary in bull riding.

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