Utahns claim titles at college rodeo finals

Jun 15 2013 - 10:34pm

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Alan Rogers/The Associated Press
Weber State University goat tyer Whittney Dansie flips her goat Wednesday during the College National Finals Rodeo at the Casper Events Center in Casper, Wyo.
Alan Rogers/The Associated Press
Weber State University goat tyer Whittney Dansie flips her goat Wednesday during the College National Finals Rodeo at the Casper Events Center in Casper, Wyo.

CASPER, Wyo. -- The action wrapped up late Saturday at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo.

Tim Bingham, a former Bear River Rodeo Club performer who is competing for Hill College, finished fifth in the short round and held on to win the bull riding title at Caper Events Center.

Another Top of Utah perfomer, Timmi Ward, won the barrel racing competing for College of Southern Idaho.

Spencer Wright, a Milford cowboy also competing for CSI, who the saddle bronc title.

Weber State finished in the top 10 in the men's competition. WSU steer wrestler Colton Mooney finished ninth in the short round, while teammate Taylor Christensen was 11th in tie-down roping.

Most newlyweds take a few weeks to get used to wearing their wedding rings.

Blaine Kaufman didn't have that kind of time.

The 21-year-old from Kansas married his high school sweetheart June 1 and strapped his hand to a 1,200-pound bucking horse a week later. His wife, Amanda, a former high school barrel racer and breakaway roper, watched from the grandstands this week as Blaine rode three times at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper.

Blaine's rodeo buddies flocked to the wedding this summer, which happened on a small ranch in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Amanda's Colorado hometown. The weather was perfect. The wind died down for the ceremony. Amanda could see horses grazing in a pasture.

"It was everything I wanted," said Amanda, 24.

She stopped, put a hand on Blaine's knee, and corrected herself.

"We wanted," she said.

Rodeo couples like the Kaufmans talk about trust like any other couple, then put it to the test most weekends as one or both of them hauls from rodeo to rodeo nationwide. They tell stories of weeks spent away from their lovers and crossing paths on highways just to share a hug.

And like most cowgirl and cowboy couples, rodeo brought the Kaufmans together.

Blaine met Amanda at a rodeo Bible study on a ranch in Texas. It would be five years before they started dating, but the two traded weekends long distance for a year -- Blaine sometimes skipping school to meet up -- before Blaine proposed to Amanda at Christmastime 2011.

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