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Published April 25, 2023
When the University of Wyoming hosts the Central Rocky Mountain Region’s (CRMR) final rodeo of the combined fall/spring seasons this weekend, fans will see some of the country’s top student-athletes -- many of them wearing the traditional UW brown and gold vests.
The annual Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo is Thursday-Saturday, April 27-29, at the Cliff and Martha Hansen Livestock Teaching Arena. All performances begin at 6:30 p.m., with a new day scheduled for the short go -- Saturday evening, instead of the traditional Sunday afternoon. Slack is at 11 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
Tickets each night are $25 for general admission, $75 for VIP seats and $20 for students -- with a limited amount available. Children under the age of 2 will be admitted free.
“This weekend should be a fun rodeo, with a lot of UW Cowboys and Cowgirls competing to win the region or qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR),” fourth-year Coach Beau Clark says. “It is a unique sporting event for Wyoming because of the region and all of the athletes who are from Wyoming at the other schools. College rodeo is unique in this state because, when you go to the rodeo, you are watching so many Wyoming athletes compete in college athletics.”
With just the home rodeo left on the fall/spring docket, the Cowboys have already wrapped up their fourth straight regional team title with 5,781.66 points. Casper College is second in the men’s team standings with 4,230 points and holds a 660-point lead over third-place Laramie County Community College. Just the top two CRMR teams earn automatic bids to this summer’s CNFR in Casper.
The UW men are fourth nationally in total team points.
The Cowgirls are making a late-season push in an attempt to win their fourth straight regional title. The Cowgirls have amassed 2,915.83 points and trail seasonlong leader Gillette College by just 479 points.
“It is a testament to the work of these athletes all year and their willingness to go above and beyond with their training. Our practice and training program was adjusted after last year to create more opportunities for the athletes to train,” Clark says. “In the past, we practiced every day, but it was for different events.”
This year, team members practiced every event every day, and many of the students went into the weight room at 5:30 a.m. four days a week when just two days were required.
“We also had the support of a professional mental performance coach, Donene Taylor, and her practices helped our students define their mental game,” Clark adds. “Our athletes have a clear blueprint of what they are doing, and they are consistently training to perform at a high level.”
Entering the Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo, both the Cowboys and Cowgirls have had some outstanding individual performers who are ranked among the region’s top five.
For the Cowboys:
-- Cameron Jensen, of Hyannis, Neb., is the region’s all-around leader, securing points in two separate events. He is the region’s top tie down roper, and he has added points in team roping and steer wrestling.
-- Teammate Bodie Mattson, from Sturgis, S.D., is second to his teammate in the all-around, and he, too, is among the CRMR’s individual event leaders. He currently is the top header, while partner Carson Johnson, of Casper College, is the CRMR’s best team roping heeler. Mattson also is ranked fourth in tie down roping.
-- And, a third UW Cowboy is in the all-around title chase: Rio Nutter, from Rapid City, S.D., is fifth in overall points and is right behind Mattson in team roping, just 20 points behind his UW teammate in the standings. His heeler is Reece Wadhams, of Laramie County Community College, who also has the second-most points in the region.
-- Jacob Wang, of Baker, Mont., is the third UW team member leading an individual event. The bulldogger is tops among the region’s steer wrestlers in a close title chase. He also is fifth nationally in the event.
-- Brice Patterson, from Bozeman, Mont., is looking to win his second straight regional bareback riding championship and needs a big weekend to overtake Casper College’s Myles Carlson. He sits fourth nationally in total bareback riding points.
-- UW teammate Donny Proffit, of Kemmerer, is trying to move up to the second spot in bareback riding and trails Patterson by just 25 points heading into the weekend competition.
-- Wheatland’s Drake Amundson, who is not a member of UW’s six-man points team, is currently the fifth-best bareback rider.
-- Another nonpoints team member, Dylan Grant, of Pavillion, is a distant third in the regional bull riding standings.
On the women’s side for the Cowgirls:
-- Gillette’s Sage Kohr will attempt to secure the all-around runner-up title while also chasing a pair of individual event championships. She has just a five-point lead in breakaway roping over Haiden Thompson, of Gillette College, who is the runaway all-around leader. Kohr also is the region’s top barrel racer.
-- Faith Hoffman, of Kiowa, Colo., has had a hot goat tying spring season and has moved up to second in the region, making a name for herself nationally and ranking third in the overall standings.
-- Emme Norsworthy, of Thermopolis, a nonpoints team member, is just 17 points off Kohr’s barrel racing points total.
-- Another nonpoints team member, Gillette’s Halle Hladky, is fourth in the regional barrel racing standings.
“This is a very special group of athletes because they raised the bar for the entire UW rodeo program. I am extremely proud of their commitment to excellence and willingness to consistently push the limits,” Clark says. “This team is an inspiration, and what they have accomplished with good old-fashioned work ethic, confidence and attitude is remarkable. This year, at our home rodeo, I hope fans come to support a great group of student-athletes.”