Most Viewed Stories
Wheatland's DeForest wins national title
He grew up in Wheatland and played quarterback for Marysville High School, but for Chant DeForest, rodeo has always been No. 1.
The sport has taken him from the pastures of rural Northern California to small towns and arenas around the nation, where he's competed in both collegiate and professional events all over the country.
Now, he can call himself a national champion.
Representing Western Oklahoma State University at the 63rd annual College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., DeForest was crowned the tie-down roping national champion after besting the top ropers in the country on June 16.
DeForest also finished eighth in the nation in steer wrestling, and with his strong performance in both events, he ended his sophomore season ranked third in the Men's National All-Around standings.
The national title was the culmination of years of hard work for 2010 Marysville High graduate, who took up rodeo as a sixth-grader while following in the footsteps of his older brother, C.J. DeForest.
"My brother started rodeoing his freshman year of high school, and after that I kind of got into it," DeForest said. "You're independent in rodeo and that's what I like about it. I've been to Texas to South Dakota, and everywhere else in between."
DeForest started the tie-down roping competition strong by placing fourth in the opening round with a solid time of 9.3 seconds. He followed that up by clocking in at 9.1 seconds in the second round, which moved him up to third place.
His third-round calf was a little more difficult, but DeForest made an outstanding run at the end of the arena to move up to first place heading into the short-round portion of the event.
"The calf ran really hard, but I was able to get him in 9.7. Other people probably would've had him in 11 seconds, so I was pleased," DeForest said. "I felt good. It was one of those deals where if I didn't hurt myself, I knew I'd be all right. I knew I had time, so I just didn't want to make a mistake."
In the short-round, DeForest tied his calf in a time of 8.1, besting the other top 12 ropers by 1.3 seconds.
And with his cumulative time of 36.2 on the four calves being a full 2.8 seconds faster than the nearest competitor, DeForest took home the title, becoming the first Western Oklahoma State cowboy to be crowned national champion since Stephen Abernathy won the bareback riding event at the 1987 finals.
"It was the biggest thing I've ever won, so all I felt was excitement," said DeForest, who also helped lead Marysville to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI championship while playing quarterback for the Indians in 2008. "It gives me some options for next year and hopefully opens the door for some sponsorships."
Along with the national championship, he also took home a shiny new belt buckle, a saddle and a $2,000 scholarship.
DeForest had many people to thank, including C.J., his mom and dad, Becky and Charlie, and his sister, Hanna. He also thanked Guy Smith, his coach at Western Oklahoma State.
He also said that riding his brother's horse in the finals played a key role in his success.
"I've always liked tie-down roping and I've worked hard at it," said DeForest, who also competes in team-roping along with steer wrestling. "My mom and dad have backed me for 10 years, and that was important in getting me to this point."