Rodeo is a sport that brings many people together. Spending weekends living on the road and weeks packed full of practice sessions, competitors become more like family.
Melissa Couture and Tanner Nall are both part of the Northwestern Rodeo Team, but they didn’t first meet in Alva. The two have been dating for three years, and have grown close through their rodeo lifestyle.
The couple proved this weekend that a support system and another person pushing you to be your best can make you successful. Couture, a sophomore, had a 7.9 in the first round of the goat tying, which placed her seventh. In the short round she had a 7.8 and placed first in the short round and second in the weekend average.
Nall and teammate, Maverick Harper placed third in the first round of the team roping with a 7.4. In the short round, Nall and Harper made a solid run with a time of 7.5. The team placed first in the short round and first in the weekend average. Going into the short round Nall had a plan.
“Honestly I just wanted to catch no matter what,” Nall said. “You have to just stick to what you practice.” Couture’s plans for the short round were to try to be faster. “I try to stay relaxed, and not get too nervous,” Couture said. “I believe if you practice then it will pay off.”
When it comes to practice, Couture and Nall laughed about some of their competitive tendencies.
“We match each other in the breakaway for like $10,” Nall said. “I beat her usually every time.” This statement made Couture laugh and she said “No you don’t, you never beat me.” Although the two are competitive they try to keep it all light-hearted and fun.
“We both tell each other what the other one doesn’t always want to hear,” Couture said. “It helps a lot to have someone that is honest with you and not just always telling you good job. We will tell each other when we need to change something, and we just always stay positive.”
Besides Couture and Nall, Northwestern’s rodeo team brought back 22 competitors to the short round. Overall the men’s team placed first in the weekend, and the women’s team placed second.
In the tie-down roping, the Northwestern team took first and second. Riley Wakefield placed first with a total time of 20.6 seconds, and Grayson Allred placed second with a total time of 20.8 seconds.
The breakaway roping wasn’t quite as strong with only one Ranger making the short round. That Ranger was Brittany Cudsworth, and she placed third in the weekend average.
Five steer wrestlers made it to the short round and dominated. Cody Devers placed first in the event with a total time of 7.7 seconds. Behind him in second was Talon Roseland with a time of 7.9 seconds. Ranger also took third, fourth and fifth place in the steer wrestling.
Another dominating event was the goat tying with five women making the short round. Behind Couture, in the third place hole was Jennifer Massing, with a time of 15.8 seconds. Meghan Corr placed fourth with 15.9 seconds. Aundrea DuFrane placed seventh. Katy Miller took a hard fall and injury in the short round which took her out of the average.
Besides Nall and Harper, Northwestern was also represented in the team roping by Cole Koppiitz, Cole Quaney and Allred.
Four women made the short round in the barrel racing. Massing placed second in the average, and Sara Bynum placed third. Ashyln Moeder placed sixth, and Baillie Wiseman, placed eighth.
“Overall I think we have a stronger team this year than we did last year,” Couture said. “We have more people in each event that are good.”