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Montana Western's Trevor Kay, Gavin Knutson help lead Bulldog men back to CNFR

Posted at 12:01 PM, May 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 14:42:40-04

HAMILTON — Both bareback rider Trevor Kay and bull rider Gavin Knutson have fine-tuned the art of remaining calm while perched atop a large bucking animal.

"Just try to keep my mind blank," said Kay, a junior who is looking for a measure of redemption this season after a broken jaw kept him from competing at the College National Finals Rodeo last year. "Don't let my body get nervous, keep my mind clear so it doesn't have any distractions during the ride."

"With me it starts back here," said the sophomore Knutson as he gestured to the area behind the bucking chutes. "I just try to keep myself calm. Deep breaths, because if I get all pumped than I can't operate. So I just got to stay calm and do my job."

The duo's ability to stay cool under pressure helped the Bulldogs secure a second-straight Big Sky Region second-place finish at the University of Montana Spring Rodeo. They also helped their team book a consecutive trip to the CNFR for the entire Western men's rodeo team. The Bulldogs finished with 5,510.50 points to Montana State's 8,252.50.

Knutson's sixth-place finish in the all-around contributed 1,000 points to Western, his second-straight regional bull riding title added 590 and his seventh-place tie-down roping finish put 300 more points in Western's coffers.

Kay locked up a consecutive regional bareback title, collecting 146 points, and added 1,570 points to Western's total. He's now qualified for his third straight CNFR and will head to Casper, Wyo., as the second-ranked bareback rider in the nation.

He credits a lot of his team's success to the leadership of third-year Western rodeo head coach JT Robbins.

"I think this team's gotten really good under JT because he really pushes everybody to be a team player as a well as individual," said Kay. "He pushes everybody to do their best so that the team can grow."