ALVA, Okla. – Jared Thompson is experiencing a dose of tunnel-vision right now.
With three rodeos remaining in the 2012-13 season, Thompson sits in third place in the steer wrestling standings in the Central Plains Region. Only the top three contestants in each event in the circuit qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo, a destination that shines brightly in Thompson’s mind.
“I’d settle for staying where I am in the standings now, but I’d prefer to move up a spot,” said Thompson, a senior from Everly, Iowa.
Thompson moved up a spot from fourth after winning the Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College last weekend. He scored a 5.1-second run to finish fifth in the long round; his 5.2 placed in a tie for third in the short go-round. His cumulative total of 10.3 seconds was half a second faster than the runner-up, Blair Jones of Fort Hays (Kan.) State University.
“Some of those steers were really good, but some of them weren’t,” he said. “It moved me up and keeps me alive for the college finals.”
Thompson was the leading force behind the Northwestern men’s second-place team finish in Fort Scott. Only the top two schools in the region qualify their entire teams for the college finals, which will take place in Casper, Wyo., in June – two men’s teams and two women’s teams.
“We really have stepped up our men’s team the last couple weeks,” Thompson said. “If we’d been performing like this in the fall, we’d be winning the region.”
Thompson has stepped up his game, too. After missing the spring season a year ago because of an injury, the Iowa cowboy has returned to the top of the game. His win in Fort Scott is the second victory this season – he also won the first rodeo of the season in Colby, Kan.
“I’d like to get 300 more points over the last three rodeos,” he said, pointing to high finishes in the last few events of the season. “Winning all three would make me happy, but I’d be happy with getting those points and moving up another spot in the standings.”
Northwestern had eight men and two women make the championship round in Fort Scott, including two team roping tandems. Ethan McDowell and Chase Johnson finished second as one of three teams to have qualified times on two runs. They finished with a cumulative time of 14.6 seconds, while Travis Cowan and Brice Buzzard were fourth, having stopped the clock in 6.8 seconds in the first round.
Thompson was joined in the steer wrestling short round by Ryan Domer, while tie-down ropers Clayton Kolb and Jess Woodward earned points for the team; Kolb finished his two-run aggregate in 19.7 seconds to place third. The women were led by goat-tier Trisha Price, who finished second with a cumulative time of 15.5 seconds, and breakaway roper Jessica Koppitz, who finished in 6.2 seconds on two runs.
The women remain in second place in the Central Plains team standings with three rodeos remaining on the schedule. They will compete next April 11-13 at the Southwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo in Weatherford, Okla.