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Published April 23, 2019
This is the first and only time area rodeo fans can watch the Central Rocky Mountain Region’s (CRMR) two best teams compete, as the region-leading University of Wyoming men’s and women’s teams host their home rodeo this weekend to close the regular season.
The “JCA Companies UW Rodeo Laramie River Rendezvous” is Friday, April 26-Sunday, April 28, at the Cliff and Martha Hansen Livestock Teaching Arena. Tickets are $10 for each of the 6:30 p.m. performances Friday and Saturday evening and for Sunday’s short go at 10 a.m. Students will be admitted for $5 for all three performances. Slack is scheduled at 7 a.m. both Friday and Saturday.
It has been more than a decade since UW’s program could boast the top two CRMR teams heading into the 70th annual Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo. The UW men last won the regional title 13 years ago, the same year that both clubs won regional titles the same season. The Cowgirls last won a regional title during the 2008-09 season.
The Cowboys have been the outright dominant club this season, leading from the opening rodeo back in September. The Pokes have accumulated 4,785 points through nine events and easily top second-place Gillette College by more than 1,600 points. It’s still a battle for the all-important runner-up position in the region among four teams.
Just 123 points separate the numbers two through five teams in the CRMR team race. Just the top two teams in both the men’s and women’s divisions earn automatic bids to June’s College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper.
Gillette College took the second-place position last weekend and has 3,166.66 points heading into the final weekend of competition. Two-time regional champion Sheridan College slipped into third place, just 21 points back of the Pronghorns. Fourth is Chadron State College with 3,045 points, and Casper College is just two points back of the Eagles.
The UW Cowgirls jumped back into first place in the regional standings on the strength of back-to-back team wins the last two rodeos. The UW women now have 2,445 points and enjoy a 151-point lead over Eastern Wyoming College (EWC), which had been the regional leader since the final fall rodeo. Perennial power Gillette College remains in contention for one of the two CNFR bids, sitting third with 2,220 points.
Besides the team races, individual event champions will be determined this weekend. The top three individuals in the six men’s and three women’s events earn spots at college rodeo’s biggest event later this summer.
For UW, several team members are vying for individual honors and also are among the all-around points leaders in the men’s and women’s divisions.
In fact, four UW teammates are among the top six in the men’s all-around standings. Competitors must score at least 200 points throughout the season in two or more events to be considered the all-around champion.
Seth Peterson, a Minot, N.D., junior, leads the pack with 1,115 points through nine rodeos, while teammates Caden Camp and Ty Everson are running second and third, respectively. Camp, a freshman from Belgrade, Mont., is the runner-up, just 95 points back of Peterson. Everson, a Helena, Mont., junior, is third with 790 points. Nathrop, Colo., junior Jase Staudt rounds out the UW contingent in sixth place with 725 points.
UW Cowgirl Teisha Coffield fell from the top women’s all-around position last weekend and is second with 1,020 points, just 52 points behind EWC’s Jacey Thompson.
The UW men have built their impressive season on the strength of their timed events competitors. The six-man points team has scored heavily in the roping events, plus in steer wrestling.
The Pokes have three of the top heelers in team roping. JC Flake, a senior from Mesa, Ariz., is the region’s top heeler, while Lusk senior Denton Shaw is the runner-up in total points. Everson sits in fourth. Two more Cowboys are ranked in the top five team roping headers: Camp is second, while Peterson is fifth.
Among the top five steer wrestlers in the third through fifth positions are Everson and senior part-time points team members Kade Greer, of Gillette, and Jake Fulton, from Valentine, Neb.
And the UW men have three of the region’s best tie down ropers. Flake tops the calf ropers, while Shaw is in second place. Everson is fourth in the event.
The Cowgirls have a pair of teammates leading two of the three women’s events.
Coffield, a Yuma, Colo., senior, maintains a nearly 130-point advantage as she attempts to defend her breakaway roping regional title. She has 660 points in the event, while non-points team member Payton Donnelly, of Elk Point, S.D., is the fifth-best breakaway roper with 322 points.
Bassett, Neb., sophomore Rachael Calvo has been the CRMR’s top barrel racer for much of the season and is clinging to a slim 50-point lead with a total of 715 points. No other Cowgirl is among the top five in the event.
Coffield is the Cowgirls’ top performer in goat tying, sitting in sixth place with 385 points -- 500 back of the regional leader.