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Augustana Students Win Big at the CFR!

November 22, 2006

Source: Augustana University College

Two brothers, one currently a student at Augustana, the other an alumnus, have taken the top prize for team roping at this year’s Canadian Finals Rodeo championship. Brett and Justin McCarroll won the championship in Edmonton last weekend after securing more points than any other team over five days and nights of competition. "It’s the biggest thing to win in Canada," Brett says, "It’s what everyone is trying to win." For their victory, the brothers secured $36,000 in prize money, gold buckles, and a bronze trophy.
Team roping is a sport that takes precision, agility, speed, and – of course – teamwork. At the buzzer, a team of men on horses shoot out of the gate after a steer. In their team, Justin acts as the header; his job is to rope the steer around the horns and then turn the steer so that the heeler, Brett, can rope its feet. The McCarroll brothers secured their spot at the CFR by being among the year’s top 12 money winning teams in Canada – no small feat in and of itself. They won the championship by having the best overall score through a total of six heats during the CFR week; their fastest time was 4.9 seconds.
It is impressive for any team to win at the CFR; even more impressive is to do it at the ages of 20 and 23 years old, respectively. Brett and Justin have been roping since they were small, both beginning around the age of five on their farm near Daysland, Alberta. Their father, Dirk McCarroll was himself a Canadian champion in 1989, so they were learning from one of the best. Team roping offers its athletes a lot more events in which to compete than do other rodeo sports such as bullriding – plus, it is significantly safer. This means that team ropers can find themselves on the road every weekend, if they wish, to compete at events throughout Canada and the United States.
This year, the first that they spent together as a team in pro rodeo, Justin and Brett competed at 35 events in Canada and 10 in the U.S.; they’ve been everywhere from Williams Lake BC to Wyoming. The past month or so has required even more practice time from them. "At times, it seems like I spend more time on rodeo than school," Brett says with a grin. They even installed panels in their home arena to mimic the size of the CFR venue in Edmonton, which is a smaller, more narrow space than usual – something that made the competition even more difficult.
And now, all that hard work has paid off. Brett says that their goal for the future is to make the CFR every year. But for now, both brothers are looking forward to taking a short break from team roping to focus on their lives away from rodeo. Justin, who graduated from Augustana with a degree in History and Political Studies, is currently teaching a bit of everything at the Kingman Cornerstone School just north of Camrose. Brett is currently in his third year of a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education with a History minor. He plans to go into the Faculty of Education next year, the same as Justin. Rodeo will continue to be a part of his life, though. After all, he says, "it’s a pretty cool summer job."

by Lisa Gunderson



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