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The University of Wyoming men's and women's rodeo teams struggled last weekend in the first of five Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) spring rodeos.
The defending national champion Cowgirls finished in fifth place at the Eastern Wyoming College Rodeo to remain third in the overall regional standings behind Gillette College (GC) and Central Wyoming College (CWC), while the Cowboys placed eighth to stay in fourth place behind GC, CWC and Northeastern Junior College (Sterling, Colo).
The GC men's and women's teams won in Torrington, compiling 580 and 575 points, respectively, to strengthen their leads in the CRMR standings. The Pronghorn men's team now leads second-place CWC by 495 points; the GC women have a commanding 1,208-point over runner-up CWC.
The top two teams in the region will earn automatic bids to the College National Finals Rodeo in June at the Casper Events Center.
Four Cowgirls placed at EWC, though three of the contestants' points did not count toward the team standings. Only Dana Weiser, a computer science major from Wheatland, scored team points with a third-place finish in barrel racing.
Nikki Steffes (microbiology, Vale, S.D.) padded her lead atop the regional goat tying standings with a first-place effort and Kaycee Nelson (undeclared, Buffalo, S.D.) and Britta O'Keefe (mechanical engineering, Mohall, N.D.) finished third and fifth, respectively, in breakaway roping.
A pair of Gillette cowboys, Merritt Smith (animal science) and Beau Miller (secondary education), led the UW men.
Smith claimed the saddle bronc riding title, thanks to rides of 64 points in the short go, good for a tie for fourth place, and 72 points in the short go, good for second place.
Miller partnered with Cole Dorenkamp of GC to win the team roping event with a combined time of 13.6 seconds. They finished first in the long go and second in the short go.
Thomas Baker (Shoshoni) added team points with a fourth-place finish in bareback riding and Cameron Weddle (mechanical engineering, Milaca, Minn.) earned points with a fifth-place finish in team roping with Bryce Simmons of NJC.
The CRMR teams will compete this weekend at the Colorado State University-hosted rodeo in Fort Collins, Colo.
Listed below are the team scores and the top six individuals in the average from the Eastern Wyoming College Rodeo:
Women's team scores -- Gillette College (GC), 575; Central Wyoming College (CWC), 298.33; Lamar Community College (LCC); Colorado State University (CSU), 140; University of Wyoming (UW), 100; Chadron State College (CSC), 50; Otero Junior College (OJC), 45; Eastern Wyoming College (EWC), 20; Northeastern Junior College (NJC), 13.33.
Men's team scores -- GC, 580; NJC, 380; CSC, 345; Laramie County Community College (LCCC), 340; CWC, 290; EWC, 240; LCC, 240; Casper College (CC), 235; UW, 225; CSU 160.
Barrel racing -- Chelsea Moore, GC, 34.50; Amanda Welsh, GC, 35.07; Dana Weiser, UW, 35.11; Kayla Tisdall, CSU, 35.20; Kaylee Gallino, CSC, 35.26; Illene Hilman, UW, 35.32.
Breakaway roping -- Chelsie Willhoite, LCC, 6; Chelsea Moore, GC, 6.1; Kaycee Nelson, UW, 6.5; Laura Waldo, CWC, 8.3; Britta O'Keefe, UW, 16; Mattie Hummel, OJC, 16.1.
Goat tying -- Nikki Steffes, UW, 14.8; Lacey Tech, CWC, 15.1; Jordan Thurston, GC, 15.1; Traci Hinman, CWC, 15.5; Calli Krassin, CC, 16.1; Jayme Hill, Colorado State University-Pueblo, 16.2.
Saddle bronc riding -- Merritt Smith, UW, 136; Chancy Miller, GC, 127; Wyatt Thurston, CWC, 120; Chanse Darling, CC, 73; Clay Gruel, CWC, 70; Casey Albright, CSC, 64.
Bareback riding -- Whitten Hoover, CSC, 149; Justin Moldaschel, CC, 142; Jeddidiah Wilson, CSC, 141; Thomas Baker, UW, 132; Troy Bechen, CC, 72.
Bull riding -- Justin Thomas, LCCC, 159; Loncey Johnson, LCCC, 152; Cody Sierks, EWC, 145; Allen Auer, Sheridan College, 144; Nathan Schaper, GC, 141; J.D. Harrell, CC, 140.
Tie-down roping -- Joseph Dickens, CSU, 19.7; Cody McCluskey, NJC, 21.6; Tim Malm, NJC, 21.7; Jake Gill, GC, 24.6; Daine McNenny, CWC, 24.6; Murray Tyner, LCCC, 25.5.
Steer wrestling -- Cole Dorenkamp, GC, 11.4; James Lorenz, CWC, 14.4; Dustin Smith, GC, 15.3; Travis Wondra, CC, 15.6; Nathan Ramsey, NJC, 20.2; Carter Coble, LCC, 22.6.
Team roping -- Cole Dorenkamp, GC/Beau Miller, UW, 13.6; Brandon Lippert/Kolten Keirns, NJC, 14.6; Chelsie Willhoite/Tyler Ingo, LCC, 14.8; Tyler Scnaufer, LCC/Riley Warren, CWC, 23.8; Cameron Weddle, UW/Bryce Simmons, NJC, 30.9; Hanna Brown/Chason Floyd, GC, 32.5.