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Published September 08, 2021
For the past three years, the University of Wyoming’s rodeo teams have ended the Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) competition as champions in both the men’s and women’s divisions. Do not expect the Cowboys and Cowgirls to give up those championships anytime soon -- Coach Beau Clark has built the program to last over the long haul.
With the fall season opening this weekend at the annual Shawn Dubie Memorial Rodeo -- hosted by Laramie County Community College (LCCC) in Cheyenne -- the UW rodeo teams will both put veteran competitors into the arena. The Sept. 10-12 competition will be the first of five fall CRMR rodeos, on the way to the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) next summer in Casper, where the Cowboys and Cowgirls will attempt to be considered among the nation’s best.
A year ago, with deep teams on both ends of the arena, the UW men and women were eighth in their respective divisions at the CNFR. Even though UW lost a handful of points team members, this year’s lineups will feature returning veterans.
Heading the list for the men’s team are regional champions Donny Proffit, from Kemmerer, in bareback riding, where he had the most points in the nation a year ago; and saddle bronc rider Garrett Uptain, from Craig, Colo. Uptain also will ride bulls, compete in both roping events and steer wrestle this season. He was fourth last year in all-around points, just one place ahead of teammate Chadron Coffield. The Yuma, Colo., native returns in both tie down and team roping and in the bulldogging events. The other returning veteran is Austin Hurlburt, from Norfolk, Neb., in the same events as Coffield.
One of the newcomers on the points team is Cameron Jensen, of Hyannis, Neb., an Eastern Wyoming College transfer student who is a CNFR qualifier and the regional calf roping runner-up from a year ago. The final points team member will be three-event competitor Brice Patterson. The Bozeman, Mont., native is a bulldogger, team roper and bareback rider. Clark also has three promising freshmen waiting in the wings.
“We have pretty good experience returning on the points team,” Clark says. “How much we will win this year, we’ll just have to see, but I’m excited about the future of it all.”
Additionally, the head coach is confident that his women’s team also will come through this season, with three of the four points team members returning. The trio all qualified for last summer’s CNFR.
Back for their final seasons are Karson Bradley, from Big Piney; Faith Hoffman, of Kiowa, Colo.; and Taylour Latham, from Roosevelt, Utah. Bradley is the returning regional barrel racing champion who also accumulated the most national points going into the CNFR. Hoffman and Latham were the top two in goat tying a season ago, with Hoffman winning the all-around title. Hoffman also will compete in breakaway roping, while Latham competes in all three women’s events.
Clark also has a nice problem for the women’s team in selecting a fourth points team member. One is CNFR individual qualifier Hailey Hardeman, of Jackson, in breakaway roping. The other three being considered for the fourth spot are Sydney Adamson, of Valentine, Neb., in breakaway roping and barrel racing; Riata Day, of Fleming, Colo., who qualified for the CNFR last year for Northeastern Junior College in goat tying; and Tatum Runner, of Wellington, Colo., in breakaway roping.
“All of these girls are talented, and I have a hard time picking one of them for the points team,” Clark says.
As the three-time defending regional champions, the Cowboys and Cowgirls are still the teams to beat, and Clark says the opposing competition will be just as tough. He says the region has more competitors this season, adding “You never know who teams have back,” but points to the Casper College and LCCC men’s teams as serious challengers.