Tarleton’s own wins big at RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo
By Bailey Rae Poer—
Tarleton State University junior, Haven Meged, competed at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo (RAM NCFR) in Kissimmee, Florida this past weekend where he won the tie-down roping title.
In 1975, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association created a system that broke the United States up into 12 different circuits in which the cowboys could compete. At the end of the regular season, the top competitors from each of the 12 circuits qualify to compete at their circuit finals rodeo. The average champions along with the year-end winners from each circuit are then invited to compete at the RAM NCFR. The RAM NCFR is set up in a tournament style with all 24 qualifiers from the 12 circuits competing in two preliminary rounds of the rodeo. The top eight contestants advance from the preliminary rounds based on their combined times to the semi-finals round. From the semi-finals round, the top four move on to a “clean slate” championship round where the fastest time wins the RAM NCFR championship title.
Meged who is from Miles City, Montana represented the Montana Circuit after winning the year-end tie-down roping title. Meged posted a time of 7.8 seconds in the first round of the finals. That, combined with an 8.5 second run in the second round, advanced him to the semi-finals round on Sunday. His 10.5 second run in that round moved him on to the final four championship round where he posted a run of 7.4 seconds, his fastest of the weekend. Meged’s winnings totaled to $22,744 over the weekend, along with a $20,000 voucher for a new RAM truck, a new Polaris Ranger, a buckle, saddle and a new pair of boots.
Nerves were high for Meged going into the championship round.
“I was third out so I kind of knew what I had to do. When I jerked my calf down, I didn’t think I would be that fast so I just tied it down and ended up being 7.4 and winning it,” Meged said.
Although he has roped since he was a child, Meged didn’t start competing in rodeos until he was in eighth grade.
“My neighbors helped me get into it and I’m thankful that they did because it has been a great opportunity in life for me,” he said.
Meged credits much of his success to the support of his parents, including Brett Fleming, who he explained has been helping him since he was an eighth grader and started competing.
“He’s been like a dad to me,” he said. “I’ve sent him millions of videos and he is always there to help me.”
His success over the weekend would not have been possible without his equine partner, a nine-year-old black mare he calls “Beyoncé.”
“I bought her off Facebook a couple of years ago and she was somewhat of a reject, she has come a long way since I got her, and she just keeps getting better every run,” Meged said.
Meged’s goals for the year are set high. He hopes to win the Southwest Region College Rodeo tie-down roping title along with a National College Finals title. Professionally, Meged has his eyes set on winning the Rookie of the Year Title and qualifying for what would be his first National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas, Nevada held every December. The NFR is rodeo’s biggest stage where the top 15 competitors in every event compete for a world championship title and gold buckle. Meged’s goals don’t stop at just qualifying for the NFR as he plans on bringing home one of the gold buckles.
This win bumped Meged from 10th in the world standings to 5th with $49,697.81 won so far this year.
“This helped a lot. They say it will take around $85,000 to make the NFR this year so this gives me a good start. I feel really confident, I’ve had a really good winter and I just hope to keep it going.” said Meged.
This is Meged’s first year at Tarleton. He spent two years enrolled at Western Oklahoma State College in Altus, Oklahoma. The decision to come to Tarleton was a bit of a fluke for Meged as he was committed to West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
“I honestly couldn’t tell you why I just totally changed my mind. There’s a lot of good rodeo guys that live down here and there are a lot of connections you can make. I knew Tarleton had one of the best rodeo teams going and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Meged.
Meged hopes to graduate from Tarleton with a degree in Agriculture Industries and Agencies in the spring of 2020.