The members of Montana State University’s Bobcat Rodeo team have scattered now. Nearly all are competing in summer rodeos throughout the West, polishing up skills in preparation for the fall collegiate season following the recent College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming. Andy Bolich, coach of the team, said there were many bright spots among Bobcat athletes at college’s top rodeo, which makes him optimistic about the quality of the team that will return next year.
“All the kids that won points at the CNFR will be back,” Bolich said.
The top Bobcat finisher at the CNFR was Chase Dougherty, a freshman bull rider from Woodburn, Oregon, who finished third at the CNFR. Dougherty finished second in the Saturday night’s final short round to place third in the event. He also was named Rookie of the Year in bull riding.
“Any time you can get kids in short go at finals it’s a good year,” Bolich said. “That doesn’t happen every year.
“It was good for Chase to get that experience and get a win and have another chance to get back next year. He’ll do even better next year. That is promising for the future.”
Bolich said that the top three finish caps an excellent freshman year for Dougherty. He placed second in the conference and won the event at MSU’s spring rodeo.
Keenan Reinhardt, a junior from Calgary, Alberta, finished in the top nine in saddle bronc riding. Even though Reinhardt was bucked off his horse in the Saturday night’s final he had a bit of luck. He was the winner of the drawing of a Dodge Ram pickup truck donated by Wyoming’s Fremont Motors.
“It was a pretty good consolation prize,” Bolich said.
Ryanne Tracy, a junior from Victor, was also ninth in breakaway roping at the CNFR. This spring, Tracy was the winner of the Big Sky Region in breakaway and all-around.
Even though this was just Bolich’s second year as the Bobcat head rodeo coach, it is the former Bobcat assistant coach’s 17th CNFR. And because it is not his first rodeo, he said he is optimistic for the future, which begins Sept. 8-9 with the Bobcats’ first fall rodeo.
Until then, Bolich plans to see a lot of rodeo. His wife is a roper. His oldest son is in junior rodeo and Bolich ropes and is a pickup man at Professional Bull Riders events in Big Sky and Livingston.
“So our summer is pretty booked,” he said.
Andy Bolich (406) 994-2403, firstname.lastname@example.org