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Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo Scheduled May 2-4 at UW

May 1, 2014

Individual honors and team titles are up for grabs when the region’s top cowboys and cowgirls compete May 2-4 in the University of Wyoming home rodeo -- the Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo at the Cliff and Martha Hansen Livestock Teaching Arena.

Slack begins Friday morning, and the first of four performances is scheduled at 7 p.m. that evening. Two performances are on tap Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and the short go is Sunday at 1 p.m. Cost is $5 per person, and students (with ID) and children under 12 are admitted free.

Both the men’s and women’s Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) team titles will be decided this weekend; and both are too close to call entering the weekend competition.

The Gillette College men’s and women’s teams lead their respective divisions, but are barely hanging on to the top spot. The Pronghorn men have scored 4,210 points through nine fall and spring rodeos, while second-place Casper College has scored 4,158.33.

The Gillette women lead the pack with 2,815 points, while this year’s surprise club, Chadron State College of Crawford, Neb., has tallied 2,773 points.

It’s a two-team race on both sides of the ledger, and the clubs are all locks for this summer’s College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper. Only the top two regional teams receive automatic bids for collegiate rodeo’s biggest stage in June.

Both UW teams are out of the title chase, but the Cowboys have the chance to at least move up to the No. 3 position in the standings. Sheridan College currently holds that spot with 3,250 points, but the Pokes are just 75 points back.

The Cowgirls, who have struggled all season, are sitting in eighth place overall in the CRMR with 613 team points.

Even though the Cowboys will not send a full team to the CNFR, several individuals still have chances to qualify based on their individual performances during the year. The top three in each separate event move on to the national finals.

UW has the region’s top bareback rider in senior Wyatt Clark of Wellfleet, Neb., who holds a slim 35-point lead over runner-up Zach Phillips of Casper College.

The Pokes are stacked in the team roping competition and are in line to send at least three individuals to the CNFR.

Leading the way is senior Clayton Van Aken, who is gunning for his fourth consecutive finals appearance. He and heeler partner Kyon Kreutzer of Northeastern Junior College (Sterling, Colo.) are the region’s No. 2 ranked roping team.

They hold just a 30-point lead over the No. 3 team -- UW teammates Kade and Reed Merritt of Eaton, Colo., The brothers, themselves, are hanging on to a tight 40-point lead over the No. 4 ranked duo, UW’s Brit Ellerman of Fort Lupton, Colo., and partner Seth Anderson of Gillette College.

Van Aken has a good shot of qualifying for the CNFR in two events. Besides the team roping competition, the senior from Descanso, Calif., is sitting in third place in tie down roping. He also is third in the men’s all-around based on individual scoring in two or more events. Northeastern’s David Hinman leads the all-around title chase.

No UW Cowgirl is ranked in the top 10 in the women’s three individual events. Central Wyoming College’s Kaylee Burnett has a safe lead in the women’s all-around.

For a complete list of regional individual and team results, click here.

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