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Fit to be tied
For a top-ranked collegian, Megan Corey is enjoying a few quiet days at home in Bremerton to rest and relax. Soon shell be back on the road, heading east to Casper, Wy., for her third-straight trip to the College National Finals which gets underway on June 11.
Its not a trip she planned on making. After she transferred at the start of the 2005-06 school year from Cochise College in Arizona to New Mexico State University on a scholarship to compete in rodeo and study animal science, the school decided to slash the rodeo teams funding. It did fund travel to the 10 regular-season rodeos, but when it came time for the national finals the school decided it was up to the qualifiers to pay their own way.
Were ending up paying for everything, including mileage at $3.30 per gallon for diesel, the 2003 Olympic High School grad said on Monday. I wasnt going to go because Ive been twice (finishing 40th in 2004 and 45th in 2005 in goat tying). But I promised my parents I would go if I won the regional title.
And win the title is what she did. After taking third in 2004 and second in 2005, Corey dominated the 2006 Grand Canyon Region standings by finishing with 893 points. Teammate Julie Etchegaray was in a distant second with 769. Points are accumulated throughout the season so that each rodeo counts evenly toward a national finals bid for the top three finishers in each of the 11 regions.
Those points place her fourth in the country behind the University of Idahos Tobi Osburn (1,880.5), Northeastern Junior Colleges Tanaye Carroll (930) and National American Universitys Jessica Painter (915).
After surviving the tough regional competition made up of teams from universities and colleges in Arizona and New Mexico, Corey says she knows what to do in the finals. Ive got to tie a couple of sevens (seconds to finish their goat tying run) or sixes and Ill win easily.
In goat tying, a rider charges up on their horse to a goat which is tied to a stake. The rider has to leap off their horse, grab the goat, flip it and tie up its feet. A clean score is made if the goat cant stand up after it has been tied within six seconds. Thats what has hurt Coreys scores at her previous finals and fueled her need to have an eight-hour daily practice routine.
This year will be better because this is the second time Ive taken Tequila (her horse) who is doing really good this year, she said. But once you get in the finals, everyone is equal. Its all how you do under pressure.
To alleviate that pressure, she brought back four ornery goats, including three from her boyfriends grandmothers herd. Theyre tough to get out of their pen, much less want to be tied up after being charged by a horse at full gallop.
My goal is to make it back to the short round (at the college finals), she said. I have a good chance to win it all since Ive been consistent all year.