Jun 10, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorMatthew Scheick has always attended the College National Finals Rodeo at the Casper Events as a spectator.
This week, the Sheridan College sophomore from Riverton will get to compete under the bright lights as a participate at the CNFR.
He graduated from Riverton High School in 2010.
Scheick and his Chadron State cowgirl partner, Kelsey Scott, qualified for the CNFR placing third in the Central Rocky Mountain Region in team roping.
"I'm way excited," Scheick said. "I have worked at it all year long. Going into the spring season, I really had a rough fall. I was on the outside looking in. To pull through and make my first CNFR is a thrill," Scheick said.
"I'm really looking forward to it."Scheick and Scott weren't even partners in the fall season.
The pair started to rope together in the second spring rodeo of the season at the Colorado State University.
"I have watched the rodeo ever since I was little," said Scheick. "I think that we have a very good chance at the CNFR. As long as we rope smart and pretty much do what we did all spring, and stick to our game plan, then we will be fine."
The team roping tandem will perform, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in Casper in the first three days.
"I don't mind going early," Scheick said. "We will need to knock the first three down to set the bar high and watch everybody else go."
The top 12 in each event advance to the finals on Saturday night.
"Matthew is an outstanding roper," Sheridan rodeo coach Marc Gilkerson said. "He has been roping his whole life. He works hard at his roping."
Gilkerson has faith the pair will be in the finals.
"They both can handle pressure situations really well," Gilkerson said.
"I have known Kelsey and her family from Wyoming High School rodeo," Scheick said. "I never had the opportunity to rope with her" before college.
The two first decided to team together while at the Gillette College rodeo, the first one in the spring season.
"Her partner, after the fall season, switched partners and left her stranded," Scheick said.
Scott was a standout basketball player and rodeo athlete at Douglas High School.
"Kelsey is one of the best cowgirls in the region," Gilkerson said.
Scott won the 2012 breakaway roping in the Central Rocky Mountain Region.
"I knew that Kelsey would give me a chance for a throw," Scheick said. "As a heeler, you are depending on the header to make the steer turn for you."
The pair clicked at the start.
Scott and Scheick won at Colorado State University in their first rodeo together to start the climb up the regional standings.
The duo finished second the next week at the Eastern Wyoming College.
They clinched a ticket to the CNFR winning the Casper College rodeo.
"It was a pretty tight race," Scheick said. "Two of the other teams had trouble. Winning the Casper College rodeo clinched our tickets. The Casper College meant a lot. It sealed the trip. "
Scheick and Scott scored 500 points to advance to the CNFR. "That is pretty good that they roped that good together," Gilkerson said. "Kelsey had that pressure on her. It was just a good deal."
Scheick knows his time is up at Sheridan College after the CNFR.
"So far I have been looking at a couple of schools in Oklahoma to further my education down there and get to rope some more and increase my skills down there," Scheick said.
Scheick is the only Sheridan rodeo athlete to make the 2012 CNFR.
"I had some other kids right there," Gilkerson said.
This is the first Sheridan cowboy to make the big show in Casper in three years.
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