POCATELLO — Cooper Duffin and Chance Moldenhauer feel like they can do better.
The pair clocked in a time of 12.140 seconds on Tuesday at the Bannock County Fairgrounds in the first go-round of the team roping at the 2019 Idaho High School State Finals Rodeo. The mark puts them in sixth place with five points, but the cowboys have higher expectations for themselves.
Highland’s Duffin and American Falls’ Moldenhauer eye a team roping state championship this season after a 2018 second-place finish in the event.
“We could have had a better night,” Duffin said of Tuesday’s run. “We got some points, so that will help us out. We should have had a better run though.”
Breck Ward and Trae Smith won the team roping state title last season, scoring 56.50 total points to edge out Duffin’s and Moldenhauer’s score of 52.
Duffin and Moldenhauer still qualified for the 2018 National High School Finals Rodeo, but the runner-up mark has been a source of motivation this season.
“That second-place finish is always in my mind, wherever I go,” Moldenhauer said. “You’re always looking to be first.”
Duffin and Moldenhauer came into Tuesday’s action fresh off a District 4 team roping title. It was Moldenhauer’s third overall district crown and Duffin’s second overall in team roping.
The pair has been a constant force in team roping since joining forces in 2017. Before placing second a season ago at state, Duffin and Moldenhauer took eighth at state in 2017.
“Team roping is a team sport,” Moldenhauer said. “If you are with the same team long enough, you grow and get better.”
Duffin and Moldenhauer continue their quest for a state championship on Wednesday morning, when the pair returns to the fairgrounds for the second go-round in team roping. Moldenhauer said he wants to “set the pace.”
“Since we are really early in the round, we have to be fast,” Duffin said. “We want to get a fast time and go at it.”
Duffin also competed Monday in the tie-down roping and is in eighth place after the first go-round. The Highland junior scored three points with a time of 10.3. Duffin placed 20th in the event last season at state.
“It was tough,” Duffin said of Monday’s run. “I was third out. I didn’t know what the cattle would do. I took a safe start. I can do better.”
Duffin finished as the reserve tie-down roping champion at the District 4 championship, helping him earn the all-around cowboy crown. It’s just another accomplishment for the cowboy, who won a national title in ribbon roping a the 2016 Junior High School Division National Finals Rodeo.
“It felt good to win all-around,” Duffin said. “With only two events, that was cool to win. It gives me a lot of confidence.”
STATE CHAMPIONS CROWNED
Three state championships were awarded Monday at the 2019 Idaho High School State Finals Rodeo. Breanna Jenkins won the reined cow horse state crown with 59 total points Monday.
Kiersten Brockett won a girls cow cutting state championship with 65 total points, and Colt Ramsey won the boys cutting state title with 62 total points.