UW Cowboys Lock Up Sixth Straight Regional Title and Cowgirls Take Second

The University of Wyoming men’s rodeo team left no doubt it was best in the Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) this season after dominating the final rodeo last weekend at home. As a matter of fact, the Cowboys have been the region’s top team the past six seasons.

The Cowboys put together their finest effort of the fall/spring seasons, amassing a season-best 820 points in their own JCA Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo, while Casper College was a distant second place with 450 points. The win widened the UW men’s team’s lead in the final CRMR standings with 5,355 total points after 10 rodeos, thanks to a dominant spring season that saw the Cowboys take four of the five competitions. First-half leader Gillette College was nearly 1,000 points behind first-year head Coach Seth Glause’s team in the final team standings.

“This is my first regional championship team as a head coach and, for me, this has been an amazing experience. This men’s team has been resilient. They didn’t have the best fall, but they came ready to perform at a very high level this spring,” Glause says. “To have the senior leadership we had has been very welcome. They showed up at the home rodeo and showed how dominant they could be. The men’s team put an exclamation point on the regional title by winning our home rodeo.”

The Cowgirls had a slim chance of staking claim to the team title late in the spring, but Gillette College also had a dominant last rodeo of its own to win the regional title for the second straight season. The Pronghorns won going away with 490 points, while the UW women and Sheridan College split second place, each with 180 points last weekend.

Gillette College took the women’s CRMR team title with 3,583.5 points, while the Cowgirls were the runners-up for the second straight season at 2,712.5 points.

“The women’s team was very consistent all year long. They continued to show up and give a winning effort every weekend,” says UW women’s Coach Jacey Hupp. “We had a great mix of young talent as well as experienced upperclassmen who helped lead our team. They have been a great group to work with and have always shown up with a great attitude.”

By finishing in the top two of their respective divisions, both the UW men’s and women’s teams earned automatic bids to June’s College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper.

During the home rodeo, the UW men were led by all-around cowboys Cam Jensen, of Bingham, Neb., and Bodie Mattson, from Sturgis, S.D., who combined to amass 555 individual points between themselves, both in two separate events.

Four of the six points team members added to the team’s overall haul:

-- Jensen and heeler Tanner Whetham, of Chadron State College, were the top team ropers. Jensen also was the steer wrestling runner-up and had the third-most CRMR all-around points and bulldogging points.

-- Mattson had a tie down trifecta, winning both rounds and the average. He also combined with UW teammate Troupe Coors, of Loveland, Colo., to place third in team roping. Mattson was the region’s top calf roper, and he also was the region’s reserve all-around cowboy and scored the second-most header points in team roping.

-- David Gallagher, of Brighton, Colo., was the home rodeo’s steer wrestling champion as well as the CRMR’s top bulldogger.

-- Brice Patterson, of Bozeman, Mont., had his best bareback riding effort of the spring season, finishing as the runner-up.

“The men’s team was a consistent and constant force to reckon with all year,” Glause says. “It was truly a blast to watch them compete as competitively as they did. Every member of the points team this year contributed and set a great example for the underclassmen on how to win a regional title.”

Other UW Cowboys, not on the points team, also had a good weekend: Greybull’s Colton Farrow was fourth in bareback riding and finished third in the final regional standings; Bodie Herring, of Veteran, took fourth in tie down roping and fourth in team roping with partner Jade Espenscheid, of Casper College; Sam Gallagher, of Brighton, Colo., was sixth in steer wrestling; and Gillette’s Quincy Reynolds and Trevor Sorge, of Gillette College, were the team roping runners-up.

Kenna McNeill, of Hobbs, N.M., led the UW Cowgirls in the home finale, placing in two events. She was fourth in breakaway roping and fifth in barrel racing. Josie Mousel, from Egan, S.D., was the only other points team member to score, adding goat tying points.

Three UW breakaway ropers, not on the points team, placed last weekend: Gillette’s Halle Hladky won the event; Kassandra Shoemaker, of Gill, Colo., was third; and Hailey Hardeman, of Jackson, took fifth.

“I am still getting my feet wet in the coaching world, as this is my first coaching gig. I had a great group of student-athletes to work with,” Hupp says. “Our women’s team consists of veteran grad students down to freshmen, and all members played a big role in finishing second in the regional standings. To finish second in the region my first year coaching is a milestone I will not soon forget.”

The top three individuals in each of the men’s and women’s events all earned qualifying CNFR bids. It has made Glause’s job a bit tougher to select the six-man points team, but he will more than likely go with regional runner-up Kaden Berger, of Saratoga, David Gallagher and Jensen, all in steer wrestling; Farrow in bareback riding; Mattson in tie down roping and in team roping with Coors, who had the second-most heeler points in the region; and Gillette’s Weston Mills, with his team roping partner Coy Johnson, from Gillette College. Mills was the region’s top header this past season.

Other qualifiers are Rio Nutter, of Rapid City, S.D., and team roping partner Reece Wadhams, of Laramie County Community College, who also were third in the final CRMR standings; and Jackson’s Emmit Ross, in bull riding, who finished third in the final regional standings.

Representing the UW women’s team will be Riata Day, of Fleming, Colo., in goat tying; Buffalo’s Jordyn McNamee and Landry Haugen, from Sturgis, who were 1-2 in the region this past season in breakaway roping; and McNeill in barrel racing, who finished second in the final CRMR standings.

Haugen finished third in the region’s all-around cowgirl category.

Olivia Lay, of Elbert, Colo., also qualified in breakaway roping as the region’s third-best competitor.

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