BOZEMAN — The Montana State rodeo teams were back on their home dirt over the weekend to kick off the second half of their season after more than a six-month break from competition.
“I thought it went great," Bobcats head coach Kyle Whitaker reflected. "Especially the second rodeo. I think we were a little stronger on the men’s side. The women’s was hard to beat the first rodeo. They met every expectation I had and probably exceeded it.”
The Bobcat women unveiled their 2021 national championship banner during Saturday’s performance before dominating not one, but both spring rodeos widening their gap in the Big Sky Region leaderboard to 1,392.83 points.
“That’s kind of them doing what they’re known for," Whitaker smiled. "It’s fun to watch how they’re pushing each other everybody’s getting better because winners run with winners.”
While there were a handful of Bobcats that contributed to the strong start this spring, two of the top performances came from veterans.
In barrels, Tayla Moeykens clocked one of the fastest times the Brick has seen in years (14.11), while the Big Sky goat-tying leader Paige Rasmussen, who alongside Moeykens, won both averages in their events.
“When you’re watching somebody perform at their very best time after time in practice and how hard they work at it, that just rubs off and makes everybody better," Whitaker added.
It was a little bit of a slower start for the men narrowly losing the first rodeo to Northwest College.
However, thanks to Caleb Berquist’s 630-point performance over the weekend with top finishes in steer wrestling, tie-down roping, and team roping, the Bobcats got back to their winning ways in rodeo number two.
"A big thing at college rodeos is just to not beat yourself," Whitaker explained. "Don’t take yourself out of the running to win something.. and Caleb is kind of a master at that. You have to beat Caleb Berquist because he’s not going to beat himself.”
Berquist has an 893-point lead in this year’s Big Sky Region all-around standings.
Montana State heads to Miles City this weekend the third of five rodeos this spring, April 15 and 16.