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Montana State's Tayla Moeykens keeps hopes alive in barrel racing at CNFR

Tayla Moeykens CNFR
Posted at 10:10 PM, Jun 11, 2024

(Editor's note: Montana State Athletics news release.)

CASPER, Wyo. — Montana State's Tayla Moeykens kept her national championship hopes alive during the second round of barrel racing at the 2024 College National Finals Rodeo on Tuesday, leading a list of strong showings by the Bobcats.

“Tayla did awesome again today,” said Bobcat head rodeo coach Kyle Whitaker. “She’s really doing great, she just hasn’t quite gotten past Taycie Matthews yet.”

Moeykens finished second in go-round No. 2, and her 28.02 leads those with only two of their three runs completed. Defending national champion Taycie Matthews of West Alabama completed her third run in 13.92 Tuesday evening, putting her in the lead in the average with 41.66 seconds on three runs.

“Those two are pretty dominant,” Whitaker said. “Taycie qualified for the NFR on that horse last year, but she didn’t get to ride it because of an injury (to the horse). This is its first rodeo back. Tayla’s doing phenomenal, hopefully she can keep it up and we’ll see what happens.”

Moeykens has now finished in the top five in nine of her 14 career runs at the CNFR, posting sub-14.00 scores five times. Her next barrel racing run comes during Friday’s performance, which begins at 7 p.m. She finished fifth among the 14 athletes who competed in breakaway roping in Tuesday’s performance.

Several Bobcats showed well on Tuesday, particularly in the roping events. Freshman Wyatt Jensen placed sixth in the tie-down roping, while Bode Spring was 15th. Jade Whitman was 15th in steer wrestling, while Trav Johnson was 19th.

“I’m pretty happy with how the tie-down ropers and steer wrestlers did” on Tuesday, Whitaker said. “Wyatt, as a freshman, placed in the (tie-down) round, that’s good, and Trav and Jaden stayed consistent in steer wrestling.”

In bareback riding, Cole Gerhardt’s second ride earned him 73 points, 13th place in the round, while Wes Shaw scored 69.5, 19th in the round. Alexis McDonald’s 14.66 in the barrel racing second round was good for 15th, while Moeykens’ 3.9 seconds in the breakaway roping was 31st.

Tuesday evening’s performance launched the rodeo’s third go-round, which concludes with Friday’s evening performance. The top competitors advance to Saturday’s championship round.