CASPER, Wyo. - The South Plains College Lady Texan rodeo program had a strong representation of former athletes who shined at this year's rodeo finals held June 10-16 in Casper in Haley Nelson, Katie Vierstra, and Cassie Vierstra.
Now competing for Texas Tech University, Nelson was the first runner-up in the barrel racing competition.
Consistency seemed to be the key to Nelson's success as she posted times of 14.42, 14.22, and 14.20 seconds in the first three rounds of the event. She saved her best for last in the final short round, recording a time of 14.04 seconds to finish with an overall time of 56.88 seconds, less than one-half second from claiming the NIRA Championship in the event.
Competing in breakaway roping, Katie Vierstra (Tarleton State) also found consistency in the second and third rounds after struggling somewhat in the first round where she posted a time of 4.9 seconds. Vierstra quickly moved up the standings with times of 2.9 and 3.3 seconds in the next two rounds and then finished with another time of 3.3 seconds in the final round.
Vierstra was one of only four ropers to record a time in all four rounds, finishing with an overall time of 14.4 seconds and a third place finish in the event.
Katie's sister, Cassie Vierstra (Tarleton State), finished fifth in a tightly contested goat tying competition.
Vierstra got off to a great start as she shared the lead with one other participant after recording a time of 6.6 seconds in the first round. She came back with times of 7.2 and 7.3 seconds in the second and third rounds and finished up competition with a time of 7.4 seconds in the final round. Her overall time of 28.5 seconds was only 2.1 seconds behind the overall winner.
Nelson competed for the Lady Texans as recently as 2010, while Katie Vierstra was on the SPC squad in 2011. Cassie Vierstra last competed for South Plains in 2009.
The College Finals National Rodeo closes the door on the 2011-12 rodeo season. The 2012-13 season will begin in September.