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UW Sending Full Men’s, Women’s Teams to College National Finals Rodeo in June

April 25, 2022

The University of Wyoming men’s rodeo team basically won the Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) title for the fourth straight year about two months ago. It took the UW Cowgirls a bit longer to match their Cowboy counterparts -- the final weekend of the regular season.

The UW women scored enough points over the weekend at the home Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo for third place but, more importantly, stretched their slim lead over second-place Gillette College in the final CRMR standings.

The UW women’s 175 points were enough to boost the Cowgirls to their fourth consecutive CRMR team title in Coach Beau Clark’s first four years at the helm of the university’s rodeo program. The Cowgirls accumulated 2,560 points during the 10-event fall/spring season to give the team a 365-point cushion over second-place Gillette College, which failed to score points in the final regular season rodeo. Just 35 points behind the Pronghorns was Laramie County Community College (LCCC); Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) was a close fourth with 1,938 points; and Casper College finished fifth with 1,915.

The LCCC women won the final rodeo with 245 points, and EWC was second at 210.

The Cowboys scored 800 points or better nine times in 10 rodeos this season, including 805 to wrap up the regular season Sunday afternoon. Second went to Casper College with 480 points, and LCCC had 400.

The UW men added to their overall national lead, breaking the 8,000-point level with a school record 8,350 points, easily outdistancing CRMR runner-up Gillette College by 2,680 points. Rounding out the top five for the year were LCCC with 3,730 for third place; Gillette College finished fourth at 2,640; and Sheridan College placed fifth with 1,780 points.

The top two CRMR men’s and women’s teams, and the top three individuals in each event, earn automatic bids for the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) this summer in Casper.

During Sunday’s final home rodeo, the Cowboys’ entire points team scored:

-- In a seasonlong battle between teammates, Brice Patterson, from Bozeman, Mont., and Donny Proffit, of Kemmerer, went ride-for-ride in the bareback competition. Patterson put up 83 points on his first ride, and just two points back was Proffit. Then, during Sunday’s short go, Proffit first turned in the weekend’s top mark, scoring 85 points to briefly take the lead in the average. But, not to be outdone, Patterson matched his teammate’s score to take over the average, winning by two points over his teammate.

“We just push each other so much just to be better. If Donny scores 90 points on a horse, I just hope I’m 91,” Patterson says of the friendly rivalry. “Just to dominate in the region this year like we did is just so special. It’s a clean slate for us at the college finals up in Casper, and I hope we can roll in there, be ready to battle, and give it all we can.”

-- Chadron Coffield, of Yuma, Colo., put together two solid steer wrestling runs, recording the second-fastest times on both head to finish as the bulldogging runner-up in the average.

-- Saddle bronc rider Garrett Uptain, of Craig, Colo., won the opening round, then had the third-best mark in the short go to place second in the average.

-- Cameron Jensen, of Hyannis, Neb., and partner Tanner Whetham, of Chadron State College, were fourth in the team roping average on the strength of tying for the second-best time in the opening round with two other teams. Jensen also won the opening round in bulldogging but came up with a no time in the short go.

-- Austin Hurlburt, from Norfolk, Neb., scored the final five points for the Cowboys by splitting sixth in the opening round of steer wrestling.

For the women, during the home rodeo:

-- Teammates Kelsey Lensegrav, from Interior, S.D., and Albin’s Reata Beck came from the sixth and seventh seed positions to finish second and third in the goat tying average. Lensegrav won the short go with the round’s top time, while Beck was third in the finals.

-- In the same event, teammate Taylour Latham, of Lapoint, Utah, split the top time in the opening round, but she could not get her tie to stay and had to settle for a no time in the short go.

UW non-points team members also did well during the home rodeo. Makenna Balkenbush, of Sheridan, placed third in the breakaway roping average; Halle Hladky, from Gillette, was the barrel racing runner-up; Stratton Kohr, from Gillette, won the tie down roping competition; and Natalie Leisinger, of Highmore, S.D., placed fifth in goat tying.

For the season, the UW Cowboys did well in the final CRMR individual standings:

-- Four UW teammates -- led by Patterson -- dominated the all-around, which goes to an individual who has scored qualifying points in two or more events throughout the season. Patterson wound up with 1,915 total points, followed by Uptain with 1,860 points; Jensen was third with 1,070; and Coffield placed fourth at 1,040.

-- Sunday’s win gave Patterson the regional bareback riding title, and he also retained his lead in the overall national standings. Proffit finished second to his Laramie roommate in both the regional and national standings in a tight finish, with Patterson scoring 1,545 points, while Proffit put up 1,490.

-- Uptain, the national saddle bronc points leader, maintained that position to win the regional title with 1,400 points -- a nearly 300-point advantage over second-place Quinten Taylor, of Casper College. Uptain also finished third in bull riding with 460 points, while Sheridan College’s Coby Johnson won the regional title with 590.

-- A pair of UW teammates swept the top two steer wrestling places. Hurlburt topped Jensen, with the pair scoring 585 and 490 points, respectively.

-- Coffield placed first in tie down roping with 540 points to edge Gillette College’s Myles Kenzy by 50 points.

The only event in which the UW men did not have an individual place among the top three in the region was in team roping.

For the women:

-- The Cowgirls had two teammates place among the top three in the final goat tying standings. Riata Day, of Fleming, Colo., was the event’s runner-up with 595 points, while Latham was just 10 points back. Lensegrav was a close fourth with 510 points.

No Cowgirl finished among the top three in breakaway roping or barrel racing.

The CNFR is June 12-17.

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