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UW Rodeo Teams Open Spring Season in Gillette

March 18, 2015

It’s been nine years since the University of Wyoming men’s rodeo team won the Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) title, but Coach George Howard likes to look at the big picture: how well his team does in “the big show.”

That would be the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR).

The Pokes are one good rodeo away from claiming the CRMR lead, sitting just 100 points out of first place going into the spring’s first rodeo this weekend at Gillette College.

The host Pronghorns scored 2,095 points during the five fall rodeos, while UW’s men are 100 points back. Casper College is in third place overall in the regional standings with 1,755 points, while Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) of Torrington has 1,665.

“We had a pretty good fall, and we are tickled with where we are at,” Howard says. “It’s nice to win the region, but we are after the ‘big show.’ The kids have been preparing all spring, and we’re ready to go.”

Even though it’s been nearly a decade since the UW men have claimed a regional championship, they have produced four top-10 finishes at the CNFR during Howard’s tenure, including a third-place finish four years ago.

This year’s team has enough depth on both ends of the arena that the Cowboys should be considered serious contenders during the five spring rodeos. It’s a veteran-laden team with CNFR experience.

Senior Britt Ellerman leads all regional headers in team roping, while partner Trey Yates of EWC is the top heeler. Ellerman has scored 495 points on the year, while EWC’s Blaine Finney is a distant second at 245.

Brady Dinwoodie of Canada leads the pack in saddle bronc riding after accumulating 495 points through five events. The senior leads second-place Tayte Clark of Sheridan College by 135 points.

The rest of the six-man team for the Gillette College rodeo will be senior Tylor Bond, from Avondale, Colo., in steer wrestling and calf roping; bull rider Ethan Hecht of Laramie, a junior transfer from Northwest College in Powell; Gillette senior Jack Greer in steer wrestling; and junior Jaden Clark, from Wellfleet, Neb., who will compete in bareback riding and team roping.

The team took a hit during the off-season when junior Dillon Simonson of Purdum, Neb., suffered a knee injury during a pro rodeo event and will not compete this semester. He was sitting in the runner-up position in steer wrestling at the end of the fall season.

Howard expects it to be a competitive spring season among all the regional teams.

“There are quality teams in our region,” he says. “The quality of depth is so good that everyone is going out and recruiting some very good kids. The caliber of the recruits is outstanding.”

Howard hopes his young UW women’s team rebounds during the spring season. It was tough going for the Cowgirls, who scored only 260 points through the first five rodeos, leaving the team in ninth place in the region.

The Lady Pronghorns lead all CRMR teams with 1,865 points after five fall rodeos, followed by Northeastern Junior College with 1,220 points, and Sheridan College is third with 845.

The Cowgirls this weekend will be led by sophomore Amelia Anderson from Forsyth, Mont., who is the highest ranked women’s team member. She is eighth in goat tying. Anderson will compete in all three women’s events along with team roping.

Teammate Kylie Kvamme, a freshman from Carrington, N.D., is ranked ninth in breakaway roping. She will compete in all three women’s events.

The other two team members will be Brittanny Brasfield, a Delta, Colo., freshman, and Rozet senior Laramie Jackson. Both will compete in goat tying and breakaway roping.

“I’m hoping for more maturity from the group,” Howard says. “They are used to winning at the national high school level, and I’m hoping they get back to their winning ways.”

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