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It's not quite the national finals, but postseason college rodeo returns to Bozeman Wednesday.

Montana State University is host to one of four rodeos in the inaugural College Rodeo Championship Series starting with slack at 8 a.m. The event continues through Saturday with public performances at 7 p.m. each night.

Bozeman was home to the College National Finals Rodeo for 26 years before it was moved to Rapid City, S.D., in 1996. It's now an annual event in Casper, Wyo. This year's CNFR is slated for June 11-16.

Qualifiers from the Big Sky Region, which includes Montana schools, are joined by the Central Rocky and Great Plains Regions. Ike Sankey of Cody, Wyo., pro rodeo's stock contractor of the year in 1999, will supply the bucking stock.

The first and second-place finishers in each event from each region have already qualified for the CNFR, though they must compete this week regardless. Those six plus the top seven other contestants in each event in Bozeman go on to Casper.

The men from Dawson Community College in Glendive and the women from Western Montana College in Dillon won their respective Big Sky Region championships.

Other men's regional champions at Bozeman are College of Southern Idaho of the Rocky Mountain Region, the defending national champion, and Dickinson State of North Dakota, from the Great Plains Region.

Women's regional champions include the Rocky Mountain's Weber State, which won the national title in 1997, and National American University of Rapid City, S.D.

The University of Montana women's team enters the championship series after placing second behind Western Montana College in the Big Sky. Three UM seniors and two freshmen finished among the top six in the region in women's events.

Veterans Hollis and Hillary Lusse of Missoula, as well as Blue Ogilvie of Florence, were near the top of the standings in goat tying. The rookies, Melanie Schuler of Missoula and Kirby Watt of Claresholm, Alberta, finished fourth in barrel racing and tied for fourth in breakaway roping, respectively.

Hillary Lusse qualified in all three women's events and Watt goes in two. Both drew first-round slots for Wednesday morning in all their events.

Montana also qualified Helena bareback rider Mike Miner, along with steer wrestlers Justin Krause and Travis Taruscio. Krause, a freshman from Augusta, was third in the region. Miner is a transfer from Dawson CC. Taruscio won a regional steer wrestling title for Walla Walla College in Washington last year.

Final Big Sky Region standings

Through 10 rodeos

Unofficial

MEN

Team scores

Dawson Community College 3,290; Montana State 3,217.5; Western Montana College 3,000; Miles Community College 1,322.5; University of Montana 947.5; Northwest College 942.5; Northern Montana College 562.5.

All-around - 1, Beau Franzen, DCC, 1,355; 2, Andy Bolich, MSU, 11,45; 3, Ryan Siemsen, WMC, 917.5; 4, Cody Taton, DCC, 700.

Bareback riding - 1, Andy Bolich, MSU, 915; 2, Troy Solomon, MSU, 610; 3, Zach Cayton, MSU, 365; 4, Matt Mangis, MCC, 205; 5, Mack Anderson, NWC, 190; 6, Mike Miner, UM, 140; 7, Tony Nordahl, UM, 135; 8, Theron Paulsen, WMC, 110; 9, Ty Smith, NMC, 80; 10, Casey Bachand, DCC, 70.

Saddle bronc riding - 1, Cody Taton, DCC, 550; 2, J.T. Robbins, WMC, 455; 3, Doug Kallenberger, NMC, 370; 4, Matt Mangis, MCC, 325; 5, Andy Bolich, MSU, 230; 6, Cody Stahl, NWC, 190; 7, Seth Redding, NWC, 185; 8, Jon Hagen, WMC, 175; 9, Brandon Brooks, MSU, 140; 10, Bo Bevis, WMC, 125.

Bull riding - 1, Cody Buller, DCC, 635; 2, Pat Johnson, DCC, 395; 3, Sam Swan, WMC, 320; 4, (tie) Bill Goolsbey, NWC, and Paul Weinberger, DCC, 210; 6, Benjamin Loyning, MCC, 175; 7, Jordan Holland, MSU, 165; 8, (tie) Kagan Sirett, MSU, and Wacey Korneman, DCC, 150; 10, Matt Aipperspach, WMC, 75.

Steer wrestling - 1, Beau Franzen, DCC, 635; 2, Jessie Heggie, WMC, 325; 3, Justin Krause, UM, 205; 4, Will Stovall, WMC, 155; 5, Dallas Rasmussen, WMC, 150; 6, David Druthers, NWC, 145; 7, Travis Preuitt, WMC, 140; 8, Chad Toavs, MCC, 135; 9, Rusty Christopherson, WMC, 120; 10, Travis Taruscio, UM, 115.

Calf roping - 1, Beau Franzen, DCC, 500; 2, Chance Bernall, WMC, 425; 3, Ryan Siemsen, WMC, 420; 4, Shane Eberline, WMC, 380; 5, Clay Kincheloe, MSU, 275; 6, Josh Harris, MCC, 160; 7, Ryan Asay, NWC, 130; 8, Justin Gaskin, NWC, 100; 9, (tie) Rhett Harber, WMC, and Chad Toavs, MCC, 90.

Team roping - 1, Rafael Paoliello, WMC, 542.5; 2, Ryan Siemsen, WMC, 402.5; 3, Dru Stewart, UM, 242.5; 4, Coley Frerck, MSU, 135; 5, Beau Franzen, DCC, 125; 6, Tyler Holland, MSU, 110; 7, Clay Kincheloe, MSU, 107.5; 8, Chance Bernall, WMC, 90; 9, Tracey Currey, MSU, 85; 10, Jordan Holland, MSU, 75.

WOMEN

Team scores

Western Montana College 2,900; University of Montana 1,570; Montana State University 1,303.3; Northern Montana College 415; Miles Communitiy College 37; Dawson Community college 305; Northwest College 80.

All-around - 1, Holly Hayworth, WMC, 1,115; 2, Pam Rolph, WMC, 780; 3, Tiffany Wagner, WMC, 585; 4, Codi Clark, WMC, 520.

Barrel racing - 1, Tiffany Wagner, WMC, 430; 2, Holly Hayworth, WMC, 420; 3, Denali Solomon, MSU, 370; 4, Melanie Schuler, UM, 300; 5, (tie) January Gendron, MSU, and Beth Olson, WMC, 145; 7, RaeLynn Roseler, MCC, 140; 8, (tie) Suzanne Bink, WMC, and Tammy Eberline, WMC, 120; 10, Hillary Lusse, UM, 90.

Breakaway roping - 1, Tara Lewis, MSU, 325; 2, Tracey Currey, MSU, 275; 3, Codi Clark, WMC, 255; 4, (tie) Kirby Watt, UM, and Jamee Clark, NMC, 210; 6, Lauren Kanning, MSU, 195; 7, (tie) Hillary Lusse, UM, and Tiffany Wagner, WMC, 155; 9, Jaley Wacker, NMC, 150; 10, Brittani Brusett, MCC, 130.

Goat tying - 1, Holly Hayworth, WMC, 650; 2, Pam Rolph, WMC, 630; 3, Hollis Lusse, UM, 268.33; 4, Codi Clark, WMC, 225; 5, Blue Ogilvie, UM, 200; 6, Hillary Lusse, UM, 175; 7, Janci Hannen, WMC, 150; 8, Kirby Watt, UM, 125; 9, Carrie Smith, WMC, 110; 10, Amanda Balsch, DCC, 100.

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