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A familiar name is atop the goat tying leader board at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper.
The University of Wyoming's Nikki Steffes of Vale, S.D., tied her goat in 6.6 seconds Thursday night at the Casper Events Center to take the lead in the average. Her three-round time of 20.2 is the best time with just one night of goat tying action remaining. Steffes, who has finished as the event's runner-up the past three seasons, is looking for her first individual CNFR event championship. She is a two-time all-around national champion and is in good position to take a third. Her third-round goat tying time is currently fifth best.
However, Steffes' points will not count toward the Cowgirls' team totals because she has used up her four-year eligibility, but is granted another season as a regional student director.
Steffes will make her third barrel racing run Friday night and has a chance to qualify for the short go in the event. The top 12 times and scores qualify for the championship round Saturday night.
Two Cowgirls competed Thursday night to wrap up their seasons. Wheatland junior Dana Weiser had her best time in goat tying with a 6.8 effort. But her overall 24.5 time will put her out of the average.
Miles City, Mont., junior Josie Davison had a tough night in barrel racing when her horse overshot the first turn. Davison wound up with a 15.3 to give her a three-round time of 50.85 seconds.
The Cowgirls are sitting 29th in the overall standings with 20 points. The UW men are 50th with 23.33 points.
The Cowboys still have a chance to qualify all six individuals for the short go round. Team roper Riley Millward, a Jackson sophomore, has already gained a championship berth with his partner Dane Kissack of Gillette College.
UW's other ropers still have an outside shot -- Jordan Steele, a senior from Aladdin with Gillette College's Dustin Smith; Beau Miller, a senior from Gillette, and his heeler Cole Dorenkamp from Gillette College; and Pavillion cousins Dahl and Chance Nicholls. Steele and Millward have completed all three rounds and the others will compete Friday night.
UW saddle bronc rider Merritt Smith, a Gillette junior, needs another qualified ride Friday and has a good chance of qualifying.