With just one regional rodeo remaining on the docket — the 67th annual Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo — the University of Wyoming women’s rodeo team is clinging to second place.
Even though the Cowgirls finished fifth at last weekend’s Ropin’ and Riggin’ Days Rodeo, hosted by Casper College, the UW women didn’t slip out of the top two positions in the Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) standings. However, their grip on one of the two automatic bids for the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) got a little tighter with only the home rodeo remaining April 29-May 1 at the Cliff and Martha Hansen Livestock Teaching Arena.
The Gillette College women will win the regional title this season with a commanding lead of 2,579.9 points through nine fall and spring rodeos. But, the second-place slot is up for grabs in the season’s final rodeo.
The Cowgirls own second place — for the moment — but both third-place Northeastern Junior College (Sterling, Colo.) and Chadron (Neb.) State College (CSC), which won last week’s Casper College rodeo, could overtake the UW women with strong finishes at the season finale.
UW’s team has scored 1,850 points on the year, while Northeastern Junior College (NJC) is in third place with 1,773.3 points. The CSC Eagles are within striking distance in fourth place with 1,670 points.
The Eagles put themselves into regional contention by dominating the Casper College rodeo with 385 team points, to easily outdistance runner-up Laramie County Community College, which scored 210 points. UW was fifth with 155 points, but didn’t give up any ground to NJC, which finished two places behind the Cowgirls in sixth with 125 points.
Kailee Webb scored all the Cowgirls’ team points when she won first place in barrel racing. She split the opening round, and then tied for second in the short go to win the overall average. The Isabel, S.D., sophomore moved into second place in the overall barrel racing average, trailing regional leader Melanie Roman of Lamar Community College by just 15 points.
The UW men head into the season’s final rodeo knowing that their hold on second place at the winter break is all but gone. The CSC men’s team wrapped up the CRMR title weeks ago, and now it’s a two-team fight for the coveted second-place position in the regional standings. Only the top two clubs send full six-man teams to this summer’s CNFR at the Casper Events Center.
However, contestants who finish among the top three in their respective individual events also can qualify for the CNFR.
Gillette College currently is second in the region behind the Eagles with 3,140 points, while Casper College, which won its own rodeo last weekend, has 3,058.3 points. The Pokes are a distant fifth with 2,495 points.
The T-Birds won their home rodeo with 635 points, while Gillette College placed second with 510 points. The Cowboys were sixth with 285, scoring in five of the six men’s events.
Brock Wahlert paced the Pokes, placing in two events. The Casper sophomore finished fifth in the steer wrestling average and split fourth place in bareback riding to score 135 of the Cowboys’ total team points.
Regional bull riding leader Jacob Smith, of LaSalle, Colo., placed fourth in the average, and teammate Dillon Simonson placed in two more events, even though the Purdum, Neb., senior didn’t place in the overall average in either event. He scored 50 points in tie down roping and added 20 more points in steer wrestling, where he still leads all regional bulldoggers.
The Pokes’ final team points came from Fort Laramie’s Lane Hageman and team roping partner Brody Serres, but the pair didn’t place in the average.