Former OPSU Cowboys Muncy and Johnson Crowned World Champs
Every cowboy and cowgirl dreams of competing at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR), the Super Bowl of Rodeo held every year in Las Vegas. It is a 10-day event every December at the Thomas and Mack Center, where the top rodeo athletes of the world compete head-to-head for the most coveted award in rodeo, a world title and a gold buckle. This year, two Oklahoma Panhandle State University alums, Taos Muncy and Jhett Johnson, captured world titles — Muncy in the saddle bronc riding and Johnson as a heeler in the team roping.
While competing for OPSU in 2007, Muncy won the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) saddle bronc title and dominated as a professional when he won his first world championship in the saddle bronc riding the same year. He was the youngest bronc rider to ever attain this feat, and in fact, is only the third professional rodeo athlete to win collegiate and world titles in the same year. The Corona, N.M., native completed a phenomenal year with major wins such as the legendary Pendleton Roundup in Pendleton, Ore., and took Canada by storm when he won the Canadian Pro Rodeo Championship in the saddle bronc riding, as well.
As for Jhett Johnson in the team roping, he and header Turtle Powell roped their way to the top of the standings at the Thomas and Mack. Going into the Finals, Johnson and Powell were 12th and 13th overall, $47,267 behind Derrick Begay and Cesar de la Cruz in the top spot. Both men roped dependably all 10 days, proving how important that consistency is. This was Johnson's fifth and best year to compete at the WNFR. A Casper, Wyo., native, Johnson is a graduate of OPSU and was the College National Finals Rodeo team roping reserve champion in 1993.
"A Winning Tradition" has been the OPSU rodeo team's motto for many years now, and the tradition was honored and well represented by all former cowboys at this year's Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.