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October 15, 2013 — If the University of Wyoming is to contend for a Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) title, the Cowboys and Cowgirls will have to wait at least five more months for the spring season to begin -- with a lot of ground to make up.
Neither team did much to move up the CRMR standings after last weekend’s final fall rodeo at the Shawn Dubie Memorial rodeo hosted by Laramie County Community College (LCCC).
The Pokes placed fifth overall at LCCC and remained in the same place in the regional standings through five rodeos. The Cowgirls have struggled all season to score points and managed 20 points last weekend to remain in 10th place in the CRMR.
Just the top two teams in the region receive automatic bids to next summer’s College National Finals Rodeo at the Casper Events Center.
The four teams in front of the UW men in the regional title chase all placed ahead of the Cowboys in Cheyenne.
Eastern Wyoming College (EWC), which was one of the top two men’s teams a year ago, captured the final fall rodeo with 440 points, ahead of the other top CRMR club, Gillette College, which was 40 points back. Casper College placed third with 353.3 points, while Sheridan College notched 305. UW rounded out the top five with 285 points.
Going into the five-rodeo spring season beginning March 14-16 at Gillette College, the host Pronghorns are the overall men’s leader with 2,590 team points. Casper College is next with 2,453.3; Sheridan has scored 2,060, EWC 1,900; and the Pokes are fifth at 1,640.
The Cowboys scored all their points in just three events -- team roping and bareback and saddle bronc riding.
Senior Wyatt Clark put himself in serious contention for a regional bareback riding title when he placed first at LCCC. The Wellfleet, Neb., rider had the second best ride in the opening round, and returned to take Sunday’s short go to win the average.
He is just 10 points behind Casper College’s Zach Phillips for the overall CRMR lead. Clark also picked up the final team points by placing sixth in saddle bronc riding.
Brothers Kade and Reed Merritt of Eaton, Colo., won the opening round in the team roping competition, but placed sixth in the overall average.
For the season, Kade is the region’s No. 2 header, while Reed holds the same heeler standing.
Three other Cowboys placed in their respective events at the LCCC rodeo, but were not selected to the UW team prior to last weekend’s rodeo.
Junior Brit Ellerman of Fort Lupton, Colo., and EWC’s Trey Yates won the team roping competition; junior bull rider Hunter Hoover, Walsh, Colo., placed third in the average; and Eric Gewecke, a Gillette senior, split the saddle bronc riding runner-up position.
Farson freshman Rheanna Gail scored the Cowgirls’ only points by placing fifth in the opening round in barrel racing, but did not place in the overall average.
Regional leader Gillette College took the Shawn Dubie team title with 485 points, while runner-up Chadron State College (CSC) was 90 points back. The Cowgirls split seventh place with Casper College with 20 points each.
The Lady Pronghorns lead the CRMR pack with 1,590 points, while the surprising CSC women are the runners-up, just 50 points back. The Cowgirls have managed just 160 points through five fall rodeos and sit in 10th place.