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College National Finals Rodeo 2022 is Almost Here

The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, known as NIRA, offers young students continuing their education at the collegiate level the chance to showcase their skills and talents and pursue their passions. The culmination of a two-semester long season is the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR), where collegiate national champions are crowned.

Credit to CNFR Facebook

History of NIRA

In November 1948, 12 schools met in Alpine, Texas to discuss the creation of a sanctioning body for college rodeo. At the second meeting in February 1949, a constitution for the association was presented that outlined eligibility guidelines, scholastic standards, and a rodeo structure that ensured consistency to accurately recognize these young rodeo athletes on the national stage. It was in April 1949 at the first NIRA National Convention that this constitution was accepted and finalized. 

At this time, three regions were formed: Southern, Northwest, and Rocky Mountain. Making up these three regions were 13 member schools in Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, and Texas. The first CNFR was held in San Francisco that same year.

Credit to CNFR Facebook

Throughout the 50s and 60s, college rodeo continued to grow widely in popularity alongside professional rodeo. In 1966, NIRA had acquired 84 new member schools, totaling 97. In the 70s, national sponsors began to support the collegiate sport of rodeo, many helping students succeed in their education with scholarships. By the 80s, there were a total of 155 NIRA member schools.

After a 23-year stint in Bozeman, Montana, the CNFR moved to Rapid City, South Dakota for two years in 1997 and 1998. Since 1999, the CNFR has been held at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper, Wyoming.

Credit to CNFR Facebook

NIRA and the 2022 CNFR

Now, there are over 3,500 student members from 137 member schools and universities who compete at over 100 college rodeos across the nation every year. There are now 11 regions.

Each year, more than 400 NIRA athletes make their way to the CNFR to compete for the national teams and individual titles. The top three student-athletes in each event from each region qualify, and the top two men’s and women’s teams from each region qualify. CNFR events include saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying.

Credit to CNFR Facebook

The top men’s teams traveling to Casper this year come from Missouri Valley College, University of Wyoming, and College of Southern Idaho. The top women’s teams making their way to Wyoming come from Blue Mountain Community College, Cal Poly State University-San Luis Obispo, and Montana State University.

The men’s all-around leaders coming into the College National Finals Rodeo are Cole Franks, Caleb Berquist, and Ty Pope; and the women’s all-around leaders are Kimberly Williams, Karissa Rayhill, and Kennedy Buckner.

The 2022 CNFR will take place June 12-18, once again at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper. Kicking off on Sunday, June 12, there will be two performances of ‘Bulls, Broncs & Breakaway.’ Then, there will be a slack beginning at 7:00 a.m. on both Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will feature a nightly performance at 7:00 p.m. The short-go will take place Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

In addition to some of the best rodeo action in the nation, the qualifying athletes will also have opportunities to attend and participate in cowboy church services, a softball tournament, a sporting clay shoot, a golf tournament, and a special Olympics rodeo, and the Cinch style show. 

Credit to CNFR Facebook

Ticket Information

All performances of the College National Finals Rodeo will be broadcast live on ESPN. Ticket prices are as follows and can be bought online here

Season Ticket Prices

$160 Box Seats (Rows 4-13)

$135 Reserved Side Seats (Rows 14-20)

$100 Reserved Curve Seats (Rows 5-10)

$75 General Admission

Sunday through Friday Individual Ticket Prices

$28 Box Seats (Rows 4-13)

$23 Reserved Side Seats (Rows 14-20)

$15 Reserved Curve Seats (Rows 5-10)

$10 General Admission

Saturday Night Individual Ticket Prices

All seats reserved for Saturday night

$33 Box Seats (Rows 4-13)

$28 Reserved Side Seats (Rows 14-20)

$20 Reserved Curve Seats (Rows 5-10)

$15 General Admission

Slack Round Ticket Prices

Monday & Tuesday Mornings | $10 General Admission

Cowboy Lifestyle Network appreciates everything that NIRA and the College National Final Rodeo do to preserve western heritage through collegiate rodeo, and we hope to see everyone out to support their favorite student-athletes this month in Casper!

CLN Community & Event Sponsor

Originally from Earth, Texas, a small town in the Texas panhandle, I was raised around rodeo, agriculture, and the western lifestyle. With a degree from Texas A&M University, I have found a passion for promoting the lifestyle that made me who I am today. I am an experienced writer, marketer, and event professional with a strong desire to share the stories of those in our industry. When I’m not busy seeking out ways to promote the western way of life, I enjoy following those I care about around to rodeos, hunting, and going on runs with my blue-eyed, blue-merle Australian Shepherd.

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