SENATOBIA – When the nation’s best college cowboys and cowgirls from 11 different regions enter into the CNFR (College Nationals Finals Rodeo) arena in Casper, Wyo., this June, Northwest Mississippi Community College cowboy Ross Burney of Coffeeville will be among them.
Burney was listed in second place in the Ozark Region standings coming into the rodeo at the Northwest Multipurpose Arena April 17-19.
He dropped to third place and held on to that slot at the final event of the year at North Arkansas College in Harrison, Ark., April 24-26. His third place regional standing qualified him for the finals.
While some rodeo athletes have been practicing their sport most of their lives, bull riding is a relatively new sport for Burney.
“I’ve only been at this about four years,” says Burney, who is a sophomore Agricultural Business and Management Technology major on the Senatobia campus.
“Mr. Bud (Northwest rodeo coach Lawrence “Bud” Young) worked with me, and I just caught on,” Burney says while he does some physical training for his sport, like getting on practice bulls and going to open rodeos, it is more of a mental thing. “You just have to get your mind right—be mentally ready.”
Burney is in good physical shape this year. Last year his luck wasn’t so good. The love of his sport cost him a broken arm and a back injury that required surgery.
Burney plans to transfer to Mississippi State University next year.
The last time Northwest sent a student to the CNFR was in 2001 when Micah Moody of Tupelo represented the college.
The 60th Annual CNFR will begin June 15- 21. NIRA students will compete in Casper, Wyo., in an effort to win national titles in saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying.
The top three students in each event, and top two men’s and women’s teams from the NIRA’s 11 regions will qualify for the CNFR in Casper. Student athletes will also be competing for over $200,000 in scholarships from the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Scholarship Awards Program.
For more information about the CNFR visit the NIRA’s web page: www.collegerodeo.com.
(Editor’s Note: Ross Burney is the son of Daryl Burney and Janet Caulder.)