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UW Cowboys Still Lead Regional Pack After Second Place Finish in Sheridan


September 26, 2011 — With just two rodeos remaining on the fall schedule, the University of Wyoming men's rodeo team is hanging on to the overall Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) lead.

Led by the all-around performance of Descanso, Calif., sophomore Clayton Van Aken, the Cowboys were the runners-up at last weekend's Sheridan College rodeo, finishing second to reigning CRMR champion Casper College.

The T-Birds amassed 565 points to ease past the Cowboys by just 50 points. However, the UW men own a 105-point lead over Casper College in the overall regional standings with only the Lamar Community College and Laramie County Community College rodeos remaining on the fall schedule.

Van Aken and his header partner Kade Merritt, a junior from Eaton, Colo., won the short go round to finish second in the team roping average. Van Aken added to his all-around performance by placing second in tie down roping to personally account for 275 of the team's overall points.

Hunter Hoover, Manter, Kan., freshman bull rider, won the opening round with an 82-point ride, but couldn't stay on his second bull for the full eight seconds. He wound up third in the average to score the Cowboys' other 100 team points.

Four other UW competitors also placed in the average in their respective events, but they were not among the six-man team selected before the Sheridan College rodeo.

Ty Clarke, Wessington, S.D., freshman, placed sixth in tie down roping; Casey Collins, Sheridan freshman, placed fourth in steer wrestling; and team ropers Jordan Steele, Aladdin graduate student, and partner Cody Alvernaz, a Williams Calif., sophomore, were fourth in the average.

Salinas, Calif., junior Lydia Coe, was the only Cowgirl on the four-member UW team who scored points at the Sheridan College rodeo. She turned in the second fastest time in the short go to place second overall in the breakaway roping average.

Her runner-up performance earned the Cowgirls 100 team points as the UW women finished sixth in the standings. The Central Wyoming College women took the team title with 425 points, while the defending champion Gillette College team placed second with 255.

The CWC Lady Rustlers lead the region with 950 points, Northeastern Junior College (Sterling, Colo.) is second with 728.3, and the Cowgirls are sitting third in the overall standings with 620. Only the top two teams receive automatic bids to the College National Finals Rodeo next summer in Casper.

Two other Cowgirls placed in the average in two separate events, but their points did not count in the UW women's total point production.

Loni Dowton, an Ellis, Idaho, freshman, was third in breakaway roping, and Lizzi Snyder, Rye, Colo., senior, took fourth overall in the barrel racing competition.

The UW teams will compete in the Lamar (Colorado) Community College rodeo this weekend before closing out the fall season in two weeks at Laramie County Community College.

Go here for complete results from the Sheridan College rodeo.

Photo:
Clayton Van Aken

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