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Young UW Rodeo Teams Open Season at CWC

September 9, 2015

University of Wyoming veteran rodeo Coach George Howard might have to look at his roster sheet a few times to figure out who is who this season.

For one, he has seen his team practice only three times by mid-week as the new school year got underway a week ago. And two, his men’s and women’s teams have just one senior on both clubs.

“We do have a few seniors competing, but only one that I’ve selected to compete on the team this weekend,” Howard says. “I have a lot of freshmen on the team, but the interesting thing is that these kids don’t act like freshmen. I like what I see and am excited, but the freshman part has not hit them yet. They act more like juniors who already know how to take care of their business.”

That will go a long way as his Cowboys and Cowgirls open the fall slate at Central Wyoming College in Riverton.

The UW men, who placed among the top 25 at this past summer’s College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, open the new season with the lone senior in the lineup: Dillon Simonson, of Purdum, Neb. Halfway through last season, Simonson was leading the Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) steer wrestlers until he tore up his knee, costing him a chance to compete at the CNFR.

He lost his overall CRMR lead with just two spring rodeos left and, by then, his season had ended.

The Pokes have another experienced competitor back from a year ago: junior Jaden Clark. The Wellfleet, Neb., student was among the region’s top 10 bareback riders a year ago. He also will compete this weekend in team roping.

The UW men will have four new starters among the six-man team Howard has selected to open the season, including Jacob Smith. The LaSalle, Colo., bull rider had a successful off-season on the professional circuit.

Others on the team are Jess Davison, a Miles City, Mont., sophomore, another bull rider, who also will compete in steer wrestling, and calf and team roping; Jay Em sophomore Wyatt Hageman, who will compete in saddle bronc riding; and Jett Hadley, of Wheatland, a freshman calf and team roper.

The UW women’s program has not had much success the past two seasons -- the Cowgirls are coming off a year when no team member qualified for the season-ending CNFR.

Howard says he hopes the team will rebound this fall with the return of three starters.

Amelia Anderson, a Forsythe, Mont., junior, will compete in all three women’s events -- goat tying, breakaway roping and barrel racing -- along with team roping with a male partner.

Sophomore Kylie Kvamme, of Carrington, N.D., enters her second year in the program, competing in all three women’s events. The third returning veteran is another sophomore: Kailee Webb, of Isabel, S.D., who competes in breakaway roping and barrel racing.

Newcomer Karlee Peterson, a Sturgis, S.D., freshman, rounds out the four-member Cowgirls team, competing in breakaway roping and goat tying.

Five fall and five spring rodeos are on tap in the CRMR during the 2015-16 school year.

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