MSU Spring Rodeo, Day 2 (copy)

Montana State’s Celie Salmond competes in goat tying during the MSU Spring Rodeo on Friday at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.

Bryce Bott and Jack Graham didn’t have the best calfs to compete with. But it didn’t matter.

Graham took fifth overall in tie-down roping and Bott was sixth in the event after the final day of the College National Finals Rodeo on Saturday in Casper, Wyoming.

And they still hoped for even better results despite the strong finishes.

“They did good for us for four years, and they both contributed a lot,” MSU head coach Andy Bolich said. “They both were really great assets to the program.”

In the short-go, Graham took third in 9.9 seconds. He was tied for sixth in the first go in 10.3 seconds, was 12th in the second in 10.9 and 16th in the third in 13.2. Graham was also fifth in the men’s all-around.

“Jack did well. He roped really solid all week,” Bolich said. “He made a good run on an OK calf and finished off a pretty good rodeo for him.”

Bott was fifth in the final round of tie-down roping in 10.4 seconds. The MSU senior was tied for sixth in the first go in 10.3 seconds, was 27th in the second in 17.9 and ninth in the third in 10.4.

“Bryce just graduated this spring with a 4.0 (GPA),” Bolich said. “Obviously, he’s an outstanding student and hard worker.”

Celie Salmond and Jaret Whitman also made the final round of the CNFR in their respective events. Salmond didn’t finish with a time during the breakaway roping short-go but still finished fifth. The MSU senior was 15th in the first go in 2.9 seconds, 23rd in the second in 3.4 and 17th in the third in 3.6.

Bolich said Salmond was trying to be aggressive in her final collegiate attempt with hopes of winning the event.

“She had a really great career at MSU and won a ton of stuff for us,” Bolich said. “She’s been a great overall contributor to the program and is going to do good things for our sport and state being a teacher. It was a bummer for her last run, but she had a great run through college rodeo.”

Whitman finished the steer wrestling short-go in 4.5 seconds, but he broke the barrier so 10 seconds were added to his time and he finished 12th overall.

Whitman finished the third go in 4.2 seconds, just .2 seconds behind the leader, to take second for the round and set himself up well for the finals. He was 17th in the first go in 8.2 seconds and 24th in the second in 6.4 seconds.

But Bolich said Whitman has time to improve as he is still a sophomore.

“He (competed) well this week and had a good steer last night, so that gave him a shot to come back today,” Bolich said. “He was trying to go fast and got a speeding ticket, but he made a good run.”

Entering the final day, the MSU women were 13th in the team standings with 90 points while McNeese State from Louisiana was leading with 310. The MSU men were 16th in the team standings with 165 points as Panola Junior College from Texas was first with 560. Team standings were not immediately available Saturday night, but Bolich said if his teams couldn’t win they at least wanted to improve.

He was proud to say they did as several competitors placed high in several events in different rounds throughout the competition. Bolich pointed to Samantha Kerns as an example, as she took third in the third go of breakaway roping in 2.2 seconds.

“They really stepped up at the end,” Bolich said. “There were some mental mistakes that kept them from winning more than they should, so we’ll regroup and come back next year and try to win first.”

Colton Pool can be reached at or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.