UW Hosts Annual Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo This Weekend

When the University of Wyoming men’s and women’s rodeo teams got off to a slow start to begin the fall season in September 2023, nobody panicked because both clubs were returning plenty of College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) qualifiers.

The Cowboys were third in the opening fall rodeo, while the Cowgirls were completely shut out in Coach Seth Glause’s debut leading the UW program. Fast forward seven months, and both teams will be qualifiers for the CNFR in Casper this June.

The UW men are solid favorites to win their sixth consecutive Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) team title when they host the annual JCA Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo Friday-Sunday, April 19-21, at the Cliff and Martha Hansen Livestock Teaching Arena. The Cowgirls are headed to second place in the CRMR for the second straight season after winning the previous four regional championships.

Performances each day for the home finale are at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and the short go is Sunday at 11 a.m. Slack will be at noon Friday and at 10 a.m. Saturday. Admission is $25 for all ages.

Having won three of four spring rodeos, Glause is expecting another all-around performance from his men’s team in front of the home crowd.

“I expect a winning effort from our team this weekend. They have performed well and have put themselves in a great spot to be defending regional champions,” he says. “They have been focused and dialed in, and they have high expectations of themselves heading into the final rodeo at home.”

UW has 4,535 points going into the last of 10 rodeos, while Gillette College is 345 back of the Cowboys. Just the top two CRMR teams advance to the college finals. Casper College is on the fringe, sitting third with 3,715 points.

Gillette College is the front-runner for the women’s team title, having accumulated 3,093.3 points, while the Cowgirls are second in the region with 2,532.5 points.

In her first season coaching the Cowgirls, former CNFR qualifier Jacey Hupp, from South Dakota, says she has endured a learning curve, going from being a competitor to coaching.

“But, I am so proud of my Cowgirls for trusting the process and learning alongside me,” Hupp says. “I have some strong upperclassmen leaders who I leaned on and some promising underclassmen who will do a great job leading the team when it’s their turn.”

Besides the team races, UW men and women are in contention for individual event titles, with several others looking good for top-three finishes and earning CNFR bids.

“This weekend will be make or break for several athletes competing. The stakes are set, and our athletes know what they need to do to advance to the CNFR,” Glause says. “Nothing will be guaranteed until the dust settles Sunday afternoon.”

Bodie Mattson, of Sturgis, S.D., is 470 points out of first place in the all-around, while teammate Cam Jensen, of Bingham, Neb., is in third place. On the women’s side, Landry Haugen, of Sturgis, is third in the women’s all-around with 1,027.5 points and is just 17.5 points behind Haiden Thompson, of Gillette College.

Hupp says the CRMR has had tough competition across the board this season.

“I wish I could take more girls to the CNFR, but I am proud of the girls who have battled all year for their chance to go,” she says.

Individually for members of the Cowboys’ points team, Mattson is the region’s top tie down roper going into the final weekend, while Jensen is just five points out of third place. The Cowboys have the top two steer wrestlers -- Saratoga’s Kaden Berger leads teammate David Gallagher, of Brighton, Colo., by just 80 points, while Jensen is tied for fourth and is just 15 points out of third place. The UW men have two of the top three headers in the region in the team roping competition -- Rio Nutter, of Rapid City, S.D., is second, and Mattson is a close third.

Among others who have done well but have not been on the points team for much of the season are Weston Mills, of Gillette, who is the region’s top header in team roping, and heeler Troupe Coors, of Loveland, Colo., is third with partner Mattson. Colton Farrow, of Greybull, is third in bareback riding, and Jackson’s Emmit Ross also is third in bull riding. Bulldogger Jacob Wang, of Baker, Mont., is just 15 points out of the third spot in the standings.

For the women’s points team, Kenna McNeill, of Hobbs, N.M., is within striking distance of first place in barrel racing and is just 85 points behind the front-runner. Haugen is the region’s second-best breakaway roper. Three Cowgirls all are ranked high in goat tying -- Riata Day, of Fleming, Colo., is 55 points out of the runner-up position, and teammates Haugen and Josie Mousel, from Egan, S.D., are running fourth and fifth, respectively.

Two Cowgirls, not on the points team for most of the season, are having good seasons. Buffalo’s Jordyn McNamee is the region’s top breakaway roper, while teammate Olivia Lay, of Elbert, Colo., is just 30 points out of the runner-up position.

“We would just like to thank the Laramie community and the state of Wyoming for all of their support of our program,” Glause says. “We hope they will come join us for some exciting rodeo action at the JCA Laramie River Rendezvous.”

Contact Us

Institutional Communications
Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307) 766-2929
Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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