University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) senior Corey Rogers added another jewel to the crown of the illustrious UNLV Rodeo program when he claimed the steer wrestling National Championship at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) on June 15, 2013. The title was the Rebels’ 15th at the National level and first since the Lady Rebels claimed the National team title in 2008.
Rogers capped an impressive week for the Rebel bulldoggers with the win. He was one of three teammates who qualified to the Championship Round at the “Rose Bowl” of college rodeo. Each competitor competed on three head of stock before the field was pared to 12 for the final round.
The Rupert, Idaho native grew up in the sport of rodeo; his father, Dan, is a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and Rogers followed three older sisters into college rodeo.
“I got started with him,” Rogers says of his dad. “Here in Rupert, we don’t have too many guys who steer wrestle so I listened to my dad but I didn’t really have someone to practice with or to look up to. Now that I’ve accomplished quite a bit in my career, I like to help out the younger generations as much as possible.”
To that aim, Rogers has established practices for local up-and-coming bulldoggers, helping to mentor them as they work through youth and high school rodeos. Of course, Rogers’ attendance at UNLV puts a damper on that.
“They are starting to really compete well,” Rogers says, adding that he missed helping out with practices leading up to the high school finals. “But I try to get home as much as possible and meet up with them, have good practices.”
Rogers’ run through the CNFR was impressive. Riding his good horse, Smurf, he split third in the opening round with a 4.5 second run. In round two, he turfed his steer in 4.2 seconds, good enough to split second. Showing no apprehension about the average, Rogers won the third round with a 4.1 second run.
“I know from past experience that you just have to know your cattle,” says Rogers, who was competing at his third CNFR. “You have to look at every one separately and not look at the average.”
Rogers carried a three second lead into the Championship round, a huge lead in the very competitive steer wrestling.
“Actually, it made it a little more tricky,” Rogers laughs. By the time he ran his final steer, UNLV teammate–and his hazer–Christian Radabaugh had laid out the round’s fastest time to lead the average but Rogers could take the win with a run of 11 or better. “When you have 11 seconds to deal with, you want to safety up so you don’t break out [resulting in a 10 second penalty], but if you see too much, you might not ever get a chance at that steer.”
Rogers found the perfect balance, stopping the clock at 5.8 seconds to bump his teammate to second with his four-run total time of 24.3 seconds.
“It helps tremendously [having teammate Radabaugh haze],” Rogers says. “He was actually leading the average before my run, and he went out and hazed for me. It just shows . . . what a true guy he is.”
Rogers gave credit to UNLV Rodeo team coaches Ric Griffith and Bryce Barnes.
“They help out a lot; we get a ton of practice, good cattle to practice on, and they give us good advice.”
The championship was the best way Rogers’ could end his college years. The business major is planning to hit the rodeo trail professionally on a more full-time basis.
“I’m done with school, I’ve got all the degrees I need,” he laughs. Rogers owns his own farrier business which allows him to actively compete across the rodeo circuit while still maintaining a steady income.
Between wins at the CNFR and a victory at the Strawberry Days Rodeo in Pleasant Grove, Utah the following week, the “day job” may take more of a back-burner to rodeo. Rogers is sitting high in the standings for the Wilderness Circuit and looking at a possible trip to the Wilderness Circuit Finals Rodeo in October.
Meanwhile, he is looking to add team roping to his rodeo regime, planning to enter with his dad.
“We train a lot of horses and we usually sell the good ones so we are always working on a young horse,” he says. “But we are hoping to get a couple going for the team roping and maybe we can play a bit more at that.”