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April 28, 2014 — Second place in the region is out of reach, but a handful of University of Wyoming men’s team members still have the opportunity to qualify for this summer’s College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR).
The Cowboys needed a solid performance last weekend at Casper College’s Ropin’ and Riggin’ Days in an attempt to get close enough to the host T-Birds in the overall Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) standings heading into the final rodeo of the season.
Just the top two teams in the regional automatically gain berths to the CNFR at the Casper Events Center in June.
The Pokes placed fifth at Casper, with three of the four teams ahead of them all sitting higher in the CRMR standings, which hurt UW’s chances to move up the ladder.
Northeastern Junior College (NJC) won its first regional rodeo of the season with 650 points, while the host T-Birds were the runners-up with 530 points. Regional leader Gillette College tallied 360 points, and Sheridan College scored 255. UW was 35 points behind the Generals.
With just this weekend’s home Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo left on the regional schedule, the Cowboys realistically have a chance to move up only one notch to third place in the CRMR standings. Defending champion Gillette College is attempting to slow down a hard-charging T-Birds club, holding on with 4,210 points for the season, while Casper College has 4,158.33 points.
The Pokes are 75 points behind Sheridan College in a battle for the third-place slot.
One of UW’s CNFR qualifiers will be Clayton Van Aken. The Descanso, Calif., senior and partner Kyon Kreutzer of NJC combined to place second in the team roping average, and moved to second overall in the regional standings. The pair recorded the second-best times in both rounds of competition in Casper.
The only other UW team member to score points last weekend was bareback rider Wyatt Clark, who was fourth in the average. The Wellfleet, Neb., senior didn’t hurt his chances, hanging onto the overall lead heading into the final rodeo. He is another shoo-in to compete at the finals.
The UW Cowgirls also placed fifth in the Ropin’ and Riggin’ Days competition.
Kinnear sophomore Devin Nichols and her cousin, Coley Nichols of Casper College, were fifth in team roping, giving the Cowgirls 80 of their total of 113.3 team points.
Cassie Hamilton, a junior from Chehalis, Wash., placed fifth in the breakaway roping short go, but missed out placing in the overall average. And freshman Amelia Anderson, Forsyth, Mont., added 10 points in goat tying, with the sixth fastest time in the second go round. She did not place in the average.
Chadron State College took the weekend team title with 318 points, while Gillette College was second with 230 points. The Pronghorns lead the overall regional standings with 2,815 points, and the Eagles are second at 2,773. The Cowgirls are eighth with 613 team points.
The first of three nightly performances of the Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo at the Cliff and Martha Hansen Livestock Teaching Arena begins at 7 p.m. Friday, May 2. Performances are at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and the short go is Sunday at 1 p.m.
Tickets cost $5 for adults, and UW students (with ID) and youth under age 12 are admitted free.