Falcons Capture 2018 West Coast Regional Championship
On the strength of several outstanding individual performances and year-long point totals, the West Hills College Coalinga men’s rodeo team won the 2018 West Coast Region championship title.
The award was presented at the regional championship banquet on Sunday in Las Vegas, where the Falcons competed in the final two-day event of the season. WHCC head coach Justin Hampton was also recognized as West Coast Region Coach of the Year.
“We had some remarkable performances in a historic season for our rodeo program,” Hampton said.
“We always take care of business in the classroom first with academics, magnifying our motto ‘This is College Rodeo, not Rodeo College.’ It has been a special season with one more major event at the national finals next month.”
WHCC defeated all regional two-year college and four-year university programs – including Fresno State, Cal Poly, and UNLV.
In events on Friday and Saturday at the South Point Rodeo Arena, the men’s team compiled 614 points – more than 200 points to runner-up Cuesta College.
Entering the event, WHCC trailed Cuesta by the slimmest margin – 5,110.5 points to 5,009. The Falcons rallied behind its top-point leader Brushton Minton, who finished the season as champion in steer wrestling and calf roping. He was also runner-up in team roping and all-around.
“Brushton is a force to be reckoned with every time he walks in the box,” Hampton said.
“His performances set the standard for what turned out to be one of the greatest regional performances that West Hills rodeo has ever had.”
In the final season standings, WHCC recorded 5,623 points – ahead of Cuesta (5,498), Fresno State (4,313), Cal Poly (4,219), Feather River (3,907), Lassen (1,260), and UNLV (623). Other schools competing included performers from Chico, Butte, Sequoias, and Clovis.
Justin Wilson finished reserve champion in saddle bronc riding; Caleb Johnson was third in saddle bronc; and Case Hirdes was third in team roping and seventh in calf roping. Others contributing major points included Austin Lopez (bareback riding), Javier Gutierrez (tie down), and Andrew Madden (steer wrestling).
The team qualified six spots at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, Wyoming, June 10-16.
The WHCC women’s team finished the season in the No. 5 spot. Abigayle Hampton qualified for the CNFR, as the West Coast champion in breakaway roping. She was also the all-around reserve champion, and placed fifth in goat tying.
“Abi dominated in the breakaway events and had some incredible scores all season,” said her proud father and coach.
“She will have an opportunity to compete with the best across the nation. Everyone will continue to sharpen their skills until the grand finale. We hope to have a great showing and bring more positive attention to West Hills College Coalinga.”
The CNFR will be aired live on ESPN networks.