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Published March 15, 2022
When the fall rodeo season ended, the University of Wyoming’s men’s team was the clear-cut Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) leaders. With the spring season beginning this weekend, the Cowboys are now focusing on the bigger picture: the college finals.
The Cowboys swept the five fall rodeos, amassing a conference-best 4,490 points, which included breaking the school record for the most points in a single rodeo -- twice. Going into the spring opener this weekend at Gillette College, the UW men own a 1,870-point lead over Casper College (2,620 points), while Laramie County Community College is a distant third with 1,990 points.
UW’s massive fall point total is second nationally only to Missouri Valley College. The Pokes trail the Marshall, Mo., school by just 65 points.
“The six boys who have been on the points team are better today than they were in the fall,” UW Coach Beau Clark says. “I think we are healthier now on the roughstock end than we were in the fall where those boys came off the summer rodeo season. The timed event end also has improved. The boys worked really hard to not only improve their ability, but also their horses have improved since last fall. It should be a good spring for us.”
To prepare for the five-rodeo spring schedule, Clark adjusted the roughstock practices somewhat by bucking horses and bulls less and focusing more on the workouts.
“I am hopeful that our men’s team will benefit. A few of the roughstock athletes have entered some of the pro rodeos this winter, and they were successful. Obviously, we hope that carries over to the spring rodeos,” he says. “On the other end of the arena, the timed event boys maybe did more than they have in the past. I think both ends of the arena will do well this spring.”
The Cowboys are led by the trio of Garrett Uptain, of Craig, Colo.; Brice Patterson, from Bozeman, Mont.; and Austin Hurlburt, of Norfolk, Neb., who are first, second and third, respectively, in the all-around.
Uptain is the CRMR leader in both saddle bronc and bull riding. In fact, the Cowboys have leaders in four of the six men’s events. Defending regional bareback riding champion Donny Proffit, of Kemmerer, is again leading his specialty event. Teammate Chadron Coffield, from Yuma, Colo., tops the tie down roping competition. Hurlburt and Patterson are second and third in steer wrestling. Team roping is the only men’s event where the Cowboys do not have an individual in the top three.
The sixth member of the Cowboys’ points team is Cameron Jensen, of Hyannis, Neb.
If the men’s team is solidly in control of the region, the Cowgirls are in flux, but still hope to match the Cowboys in an attempt to win a fourth straight CRMR title. The UW women sit third in the region after an up-and-down fall season.
Perennial champion Gillette College heads the women’s standings with 1,505 points; Casper College is running second at 1,205 points; and the UW women round out the top three with 1,005.
“Our women’s team is looking strong. The exciting thing for a couple of them is that we are a lot healthier this spring than we were in the fall,” Clark says. “I know this will impact our goat tying.”
He adds that a couple of the women’s team members made changes with barrel horses that should benefit their success, and the ropers “worked extremely hard.”
“We can see improvement in all of them. We are optimistic that it will be a great spring season for the women’s team,” Clark says. “But, on the other side of that, is that our region is really tough, and we recognize that Gillette and Casper had a great fall season. We expect those teams to be tough again this spring, and it will be fun to see how our women’s team rises to the challenge at the five spring rodeos.”
Expected on the points team for the spring opener are Riata Day, from Fleming, Colo.; Faith Hoffman, of Kiowa, Colo.; Taylour Latham, from Roosevelt, Utah; and Kelsey Lensegrav, of Interior, S.D.
The CRMR competition concludes with the annual home Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo April 22-24.