Students to Participate in NFR Activities

Two University of Montana Western students will participate in National Finals Rodeo activities in Las Vegas, Nevada during the 10-day PRCA rodeo, held December 7-16, 2017. Tristan Hansen and Lorrie Ann Smith are teammates on the Montana Western rodeo team and competed together this past summer at the College National Finals Rodeo.

Tristan Hansen

Montana Western student Tristan Hansen wows the home crowd at the Harry Andrus Arena at the final rodeo in the fall 2017 season.

Hansen has been invited to compete in the Permit Member of the Year Challenge, a bareback competition in which Hansen will compete for $21,000. Smith will represent Hawaii in the Miss Rodeo America Contest.

Hansen placed second in the nation at this past summer’s College National Finals. He maintained his hot place with a first-place effort at the Dillon Jaycee PRCA Labor Day Rodeo, earning $1,582 on his PRCA permit. Hansen totaled $16,501 on his permit for the season which qualified him fourth in the Permit Challenge, held each year in conjunction with the Benny Binion Bucking Horse and Bull Sale at the South Point Arena on Dec. 7.

Hansen’s rodeo resume is quickly growing with wins including 2017 Montana’s Biggest Weekend Champion, 2017 Northeast Montana Fair & Rodeo Champion, and winning the 2015 Big Sky Region National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association All Around Cowboy.

“The opportunity to compete on my permit has let me gain pro-rodeo experience, while still working on my college education,” said Hansen.

The NFR contestants hold PRCA cards, while college athletes and young cowboys early in their careers compete on PRCA permits.

First-time professionals compete on a permit and can renew the permit if they win less than $1,000 in a season. Those that earn over $1,000 graduate to the PRCA card, unless they are college students, may renew the permit as part of the PRCA’s program to encourage young contestants to stay in college and finish their education.

The top five money winners in each event from the permit ranks are invited to the Permit Challenge and many eventual Permit Challenge champions eventually return to Las Vegas as NFR qualifiers. Hansen enters fourth in bareback riding.

Hansen currently leads the Big Sky Region in the bareback riding standings and he has qualified for his second Montana PRCA Circuit Finals which will be held in Great Falls, Mont. in January.

Lorrie Ann Smith

Montana Western student and Miss Rodeo Hawaii, Lorrie Ann Smith.

Smith, a breakaway roper and goat tier in the college rodeo ranks, qualified for the Miss Rodeo America Contest as Miss Rodeo Hawaii. She is a native of Laia, Hawaii and grew up on her family’s Gunstock Ranch. She is involved in the Montana Western Natural Horsemanship program and is also a business administration major.

This story originally appeared in the Dillon Tribune.

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