WWCC ropes rodeo championship

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Walla Walla Community College won its second men's team championship in five years at the College National Finals Rodeo, held in Casper, Wyo.

Led by Bryce Palmer's first-place finish in the men's all-around standings, the Walla Wallans totaled 750 points and overcame a 110 deficit behind Sam Houston State during the rodeo's top-10 finals June 16 that capped the week-long competition. Sam Houston finished second with 670 points.

Blue Mountain Community College, Walla Walla's heated rival in the Northwest Regional during the regular season, placed 23rd with 200 points and Treasure Valley was 34th with 85 points. Eastern Oregon University scored 30 points for 46th place.

"I can't tell you how proud I am of this team," Walla Walla Coach Buster Barton said. "It's amazing. Anytime you can take a team from a two-year community college and compete against the four-year schools and come out on top, it's pretty darn special."

Palmer, a Touchet High School graduate and the son of Brent Palmer, a longtime cattleman and cowboy in this area who also roped at WWCC, finished second in the average in tie-down roping and second in team roping with partner Jake Minor.

Palmer accounted for 365 of his team's points.

Palmer roped and tied his final calf in 10 seconds flat, which was good for fifth place in the short go. His time of 39 seconds on four calves put him second in the final standings.

Palmer and Minor caught their final steer in 10.5 seconds. It was their slowest run of the rodeo and gave them am eighth-place finish in the finals. But their 27.9 time in the average was the second fastest.

Mitch Dove, another WWCC finalist, roped his final calf in 10.2 seconds to finish seventh in the round, and his 42.3 time in the average was good for sixth place overall.

One of Walla Walla's two women who qualified for the national rodeo made it into the finals.

Rachel Roberts tied her final goat in 8.3 seconds. She finished ninth in the round, and her 28.6 time in the average was good for seventh place.

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