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April 15, 2014 — It’s tough to catch the top two teams when both place ahead of you in the standings.
Even though the University of Wyoming men’s team placed third at the weekend Colorado State University (CSU) rodeo with another solid effort, it wasn’t enough to catch Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) leaders Gillette College and Casper College.
Only the top two regional teams automatically send full teams to this summer’s College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) at the Casper Events Center.
However, the Pokes did manage to close within just 40 points of Sheridan College for the overall third place spot in the regional standings.
The Pronghorns of Gillette College won the latest CRMR rodeo with 625 points to hold on to first place, while runner-up Casper College placed second with 495 points. The Cowboys were 50 points back behind the T-Birds.
The UW men now trail Casper College by 678.33 points, with just two spring rodeos remaining for the elusive second-place spot in the region. The Pronghorns lead the herd with 3,850 points.
Even if the Pokes don’t reach second place, the team has a solid chance to send a handful of individuals to the CNFR based on points produced in individual events.
At the CSU rodeo, brothers Kade and Reed Merritt provided 310 of the team’s overall points by splitting first place in team roping. The Eaton, Colo., team ropers had the event’s top opening time, and split the second-best time in the short go to tie in the average.
The Merritt brothers remain second among all CRMR team ropers.
Teammate Clayton Van Aken, Descanso, Calif., placed fifth in the same event with partner Kyon Kreutzer of Northeastern Junior College. The pair is fourth in the regional standings.
UW’s men scored points in just one other event at the CSU rodeo. Bareback rider Wyatt Clark, Wellfleet, Neb., was fourth in the average, with his best ride coming in the short go; he was second. Clark still leads the region, holding just a 10-point lead over the T-Birds’ Zach Phillips.
The UW Cowgirls took a major step back from a week ago when they had their best outing of the season.
At CSU, the UW women scored just 10 points when Kinnear’s Devin Nichols had the sixth-best time in the opening round of breakaway roping. She had a no-time in the short go.
Chadron State College took the team title with 350 points, followed by Central Wyoming College -- just 10 points behind the Eagles.
The Cowgirls slipped to 10th overall in the CRMR standings with 500 team points. In a two-team race on the women’s side, Gillette College leads the region with 2,585 points, and Chadron is second with 2,455.
CRMR teams have the Easter weekend off, and will resume action April 25-27 for the annual Ropin’ and Riggin’ Days hosted by Casper College. The season concludes May 2-4 when UW hosts its home competition, the Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo.