UW Rodeo Teams Off to Rousing Start

September 17, 2012

It was quite the opening weekend for both the University of Wyoming women’s and men’s rodeo teams.

The UW Cowgirls got back to their winning ways, taking the Central Wyoming College (CWC) team title Sunday. The last time the UW women were on top was at the spring 2011 home rodeo.

The Cowboys placed second in the first of five fall rodeos last weekend at the Fremont County Fairgrounds in Riverton.

The Cowgirls, who return a veteran crew, showed something that has been lacking the past two seasons when they have failed to qualify as a team to compete the at national finals: depth.

The Cowgirls scored in three separate events to roll past Gillette College, with 410 points to the Pronghorn’s 375. Northeastern Junior College (Sterling, Colo.) was third with 337.5 points.

Kaycee Nelson, who won the regional breakaway roping title two years ago, placed first in her specialty event. The senior from Buffalo, S.D., won both rounds of competition. Sophomore Loni Dowton, from Ellis, Idaho, was third in the average.

Newcomer Chandler Markel made a splash in her collegiate debut, gaining runner-up honors in the barrel racing event. The Scottsbluff, Neb., freshman’s best round came in the opening frame when she placed second and finished as the runner-up in the overall average.

Lydia Coe, a Salinas, Calif., senior, combined with partner Dalton Ward of Otero Junior College (LaJunta, Colo.) to split fifth place in the team roping average.

The Cowboys scored the bulk of their points on the strength of their team ropers, scoring a whopping 430 points. Gillette College won the first fall rodeo with 765 points, while the UW men were 140 points back. Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) placed third with 390.

Defending national champion Tyler Schnaufer, Pueblo, Colo., senior, combined with UW teammate Clayton Van Aken to win both rounds of team roping to easily win by nearly seven full seconds against the runners-up from EWC.

Brit Ellerman, a sophomore from Fort Lupton, Colo., and team roping partner Dane Kissick of Gillette College were fifth in the average.

EWC transfer Wyatt Clark from Wellfleet, Neb., split third in the tie down roping competition for the Cowboys, while Schnaufer placed fifth in the average.

Even though he didn’t place in the bareback riding average, Justin Moldaschel of Stanton, Minn., picked up 60 points for the Cowboys by taking the opening round of competition. However, the Casper College transfer was bucked off in the short go.

UW’s teams will be at the Chadron (Neb.) rodeo this weekend.

For a complete list of team and individual results from the CWC rodeo, click here.

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