Caleb McMillan was happy, but not satisfied when the College National Finals Rodeo ended.
The Northwest College sophomore placed second in the All-Around in Casper, being edged out at the end of five days of competition by Colton Campbell of Cal-State-Fresno.
The final margin was Campbell 240 points, McMillan 225.
“It didn’t end up the way I wanted it to,” said McMillan, 21, of Soap Lake, Wash. “I was counting right up to the last of it. I had a pretty decent Finals.”
The Trappers, champions of the Big Sky Region, overall did not fare as well. Northwest placed 15th in the team race with 285 points. The championship winner was Panola College of Carthage, Tex.
“It was Caleb,” NWC coach Del Nose said of the crux of the Trappers’ scoring. “I told the other guys, ‘This is going to be big-boy riding. They didn’t take me seriously. They’re freshmen.”
McMillan is on the move to pro rodeos now, and while he could return to Northwest in the fall for additional schooling, he has not yet made up his mind whether to rodeo full-time or not.
“Oh yes, yes, he’s ready to go,” Nose said. “I wouldn’t blame him.”
For the time being, McMillan will be entering rodeos in Washington and Oregon. But he has secured a place in the calf roping during the July 1 session of the Buffalo Bill Cody Stampede here.
While McMillan has competed in Cody Nite Rodeo and in Northwest’s home events at Stampede Park, he has never seen the Stampede, never mind been part of the $400,000 rodeo.
Demonstrating he knows how the pro circuit works over Cowboy Christmas, he and friends have entered 13 rodeos that week, including the Stampede.
Often competing in up to five events for the Trappers, McMillan is narrowing his focus to calf roping and bull riding. He won one round and finished second in another in bull riding at the College Finals, though he will be limited to calf roping in Cody.
“It’s cool,” Nose said of McMillan getting into the Stampede field.