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UW Teams Open Spring Rodeo Season

March 22, 2011

Both University of Wyoming rodeo teams did enough at last weekend's opening spring rodeo at Gillette College to move up in the overall Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) standings.

The Cowgirls placed third in the first of five spring rodeos, while the men placed fifth. More important, both UW teams closed the gap as they try to reach the region's coveted second-place position.

Only the top two teams gain automatic bids for June's College National Finals Rodeo in Casper.

The Cowgirls are in fourth place in the region standings while the UW men are also fourth, just 40 points out of third place.

UW's women received solid performances in both goat tying and breakaway roping to help the team's total scoring with 315 points. Regional front-runner Gillette won its home rodeo with 485 points and Central Wyoming College was the weekend's runner-up with 320.

Wheatland senior Dana Weiser scored 140 points in breakaway roping to place second in the event. UW's Kaycee Nelson, Buffalo, S.D., won the event, but her points didn't count in the team's overall production. She was not one of the four women designated for the Cowgirls' team.

Weiser added points in goat tying, placing fourth in the average. Teammate Heather Bregar, a Lander junior, reached the short go in the same event scoring 50 team points, but did not place in the average. Non-team member, Layne Wiebe, a UW junior from Jefferson City, Mont., placed sixth in the average. Ilene Choal, a Laramie senior, placed fifth in the barrel racing average.

UW senior Merritt Smith of Gillette moved into serious contention in the regional saddle bronc riding competition when he won the event in his hometown. He took both the short and long go rounds to score 180 of the team's 310 total points. Smith is second in the overall regional saddle bronc riding standings, sitting just 10 points out of first place.

Laramie County Community College won the Gillette College rodeo with 540 points followed by the host Pronghorns with 445. Northeastern Junior College took third with 405 and Casper College had 380 points for fourth place.

Clayton Van Aken, freshman from Descanso, Calif., was the tie down roping runner-up scoring the Cowboys' final 130 team points.

Three other UW Cowboys also placed in their respective events, but their points did not count in the team standings. Moorcroft senior Miles Duffy was fifth in the tie down average; Coley Wondra of Casper and partner Joe Pullera of Colorado State University placed fourth in the team roping average; and Riverton's Brad Schieck and team roping partner Matt Schieck of Sheridan College were sixth in the average.

The UW rodeo teams will travel to Torrington this weekend to compete in the Eastern Wyoming College rodeo.

For a complete list of individual winners from the Gillette College rodeo, visit the UW rodeo home page at

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