The CNFR is the college rodeo’s best.
The College National Finals Rodeo will host nine rodeo events that will see 400 of the country’s best college rodeo competitors from more than 100 colleges and universities across 11 regions.
The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association crowns individual event champions in saddlebronc riding and bull riding, tie down roping steer wrestling, tie-down ropeing, steer wrestling team roping barrel racing, breakaway or roping, and goat tied. Both men’s and women’s teams can also win national team championships.
Each year, the CNFR hosts over 400 cowboys/cowgirls from more then 100 community colleges and universities. For a chance at riding or ropes at the CNFR, contestants can compete throughout the year in any of NIRA’s eleven regions. The CNFR will be awarded to the top three contestants in each event, and the top two teams of men and women from NIRA’s 11 regional regions.
The College National Finals Rodeo, (CNFR), kicked off Sunday at Casper’s Ford Wyoming Center. Events will continue through Saturday, June. 18, with 400 student athletes from more than 100 colleges and universities.
CNFR is an annual rodeo held in Casper every year since 1999. The exception to 2020 was when it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jim Dewey Brown (Commissioner of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, NIRA), who oversees the CNFR, stated that “this is our home.” “Casper in Wyoming has been a great place for the CNFR. The community embraces the [rodeo] as well, you know.
It was previously held in Rapid City in South Dakota for two and Bozeman in Montana for 26 years before it moved to central Wyoming. Casper beat larger cities in more populous areas, such as Fort Worth, Texas, to host the event. Brown stated that the event will be held in Casper until at most 2027.
Brown said, “It’s centrally located to our geographic area for the areas and the weather’s good generally and the community behind this rodeo.”
Brown estimated that about 3,500 students participate in rodeo at colleges across the country. The sport’s best performers make it to Casper.
COVID-19 caused the cancellation of the 2020 rodeo. Some competitors had already qualified for the CNFR. However, they had to qualify again for the next year because there was no automatic qualification for that year’s event. Casper lost approximately $2 million due to the cancellation.
Brown, who was appointed Commissioner of the NIRA in January, is trying to promote the sport and expand its reach.