UW Cowboys Take Ropin’ and Riggin’ Days Team Title
The University of Wyoming men's rodeo team's best effort of the season may have come too late.
The Cowboys won for the first time this season, taking the Ropin' and Riggin' Days team title last weekend in Casper. Despite the late-season surge, the UW men still trail second-place Casper College by 632 points in the Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) overall standings. Only the top two teams -- Gillette College leads -- gain automatic bids to this summer's College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper.
The regular season ends next week with the annual Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo hosted by UW.
The UW Cowgirls also will not qualify as a team for the CNFR, sitting in third, one spot out of the automatic invite. The UW women trail second place Central Wyoming College by nearly 900 points, while defending champion Gillette College has doubled the Cowgirls' output.
Even though UW will not be sending teams to the CNFR, at least three UW men's team members are headed to the season-ending event based on their productivity this season. The top three individuals in each event qualify for the CNFR.
Header Kade Merritt, Eaton, Colo., sophomore, and heeler Clayton Van Aken, Descanso, Calif., freshman, are the region's top-ranked team roping duo, holding a slim seven-point lead over the second-place team.
Senior Merritt Smith of Gillette will qualify for his fourth straight CNFR in saddle bronc riding. He is currently second overall in the region.
The Cowboys' win last weekend was powered by a couple of event wins and a runner-up finish in another. UW edged the host T-Birds by just 40 points, 585-545, for the team title. Gillette College was a distant third at 345 points.
Merritt and Van Aken's team roping win propelled the duo to first place in the regional standings. They had only the fifth-fastest time in the opening round at Casper College, but turned in 6.2 second time in the short go to win the average.
Milaca, Minn., senior Cameron Weddle, came from the fourth spot in the first round to win the steer wrestling short go to take the bulldogging average.
And Smith matched his teammates' efforts in the short go winning the final round in saddle bronc riding to place as the runner-up in the average.
Three other UW competitors also placed in their respective events, but their points did not count in the team's score. Brad Schieck from Riverton and team roping partner Matt Schieck of Sheridan College placed third in team roping, and another UW team roping team also placed. Lizzi Snyder of Rye, Colo., and Jamie Reed of Lusk combined to finish sixth in the average.
The Cowgirls placed third overall in Casper with 200 team points -- half of them coming from Wheatland senior Dana Weiser, who was third in the goat tying average. Gillette College dominated the Ropin' and Riggin' Days rodeo with 585 points, while the host Lady T-Birds were second with 350.
Lander's Heather Bregar and Kaycee Nelson from Buffalo, S.D., both sophomores, picked up team points in breakaway roping. Bregar was sixth in the average, while Nelson had the fourth best time in the opening round. Ilene Choal, a senior from Laramie, picked up the final points for the UW women's team, scoring early-round points in the barrel racing competition.
Listed are the team points and the top individuals in each event from the Casper College rodeo:
Men's team points -- University of Wyoming 585; Casper College, 545; Gillette College 325; Sheridan College 280; Laramie County Community College 240; Central Wyoming College, 230; Northeastern Junior College and Otero Junior College 225; Eastern Wyoming College 220; Lamar Community College 205; Colorado State University 90; Chadron State College 80; Air Force Academy 5.
Women's team scores -- Gillette College 530; Casper College 350; University of Wyoming 200; Northeastern Junior College 140; Central Wyoming College and Colorado State University 130; Laramie County Community College 90.
Saddle bronc riding -- Cole Elshere, GC, 151; Merritt Smith, UW, 148; Travis Darling, CC, 147; Charlie Kogianes, CWC, 128; Wyatt Thurston, CWC, 123, on two.
Bareback riding -- Justin Moldaschel, CC, 147; Chance Madsen, CC, 143; Shane Stevens, SC, 130; Collin Chytka, CSC, 114; Spencer Brown, OJC, 113, on two.
Bull riding -- Jacob Buller, CWC, 84; Rance Maddocks, GC, 78; Tyler Mattarocci, LCC, 73; Loncey Johnson, LCCC, 56, on one.
Tie down roping -- Riley Pruitt, EWC, 19.9; Mitch McAdow, NJC, 20.5; Troy Wilcox, EWC, 20.7; Joey Dickens, CSU, 21; James Roedeske, OJC, 21.2; Shay Carroll, NJC, 21.4.
Steer wrestling -- Cameron Weddle, UW, 9.2; Carter Coble, LCC, 9.9; Riley Krassin, CC, 10.8; James Roedeske, OJC, 11; Kelby Bond, NJC, 11.4; Hadley Jackson, OJC, 13.8.
Team roping -- Kade Merritt/Clayton Van Aken, UW, 14.4; Colby Sturgeon, EWC/Will Van Hill, LCCC, 16.5; Brad Schieck, UW/Matt Schieck, SC, 19.1; Calli Krassin/Riley Krassin, CC, 26.
Barrel racing -- Crystal Hershey, GC, 31; Samantha Tallent, NJC, 31.10; Chelsea Moore, GC, 31.14; Jesse Pichler, LCCC, 31.15; Dani Buhler, CSU, 31.29; Cayla Allen, UW, 31.47.
Breakaway roping -- Chelsea Moore, GC, 5.3; Megan Belus, CC, 5.7; Megan Schrock, CC, 6.8; Shelbi Kelly, NJC, 7; Caitlyn Cahill, UW, 16.5.
Goat tying - Jordan Thurston, GC, 15.7; Laura Waldo, CC, 15.9; Dana Weiser, UW, 16.3; Lacey Tech, CWC, 16.5; Callie Krassin, CC, 17.1; Kodi Hansen, CWC, 18.1.