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UW Men First, Cowgirls Second at Gillette College Rodeo

March 20, 2018

For the first time this season, the University of Wyoming’s rodeo teams both produced solid performances at the same competition.

The Cowboys won their first team title this season, splitting first place with Chadron State College at last weekend’s Gillette College rodeo. The two clubs won the weekend Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) competition with 495 points apiece, which enabled the Pokes to climb into sixth place in the regional team standings -- a bump up of two places. Laramie County Community College (LCCC) placed third in the latest CRMR rodeo with 460 points.

UW’s women, meanwhile, kept a strong grip on second place in the region with another strong performance, finishing second to the host Pronghorns. Region-leading Gillette College won its home rodeo with 550 points, while the Cowgirls finished second with 305. Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) was the third-place team with 243.3 total team points.

Four different UW men’s team members put points on the board in the Cowboys’ best showing of the season.

Junior bull rider Jacob Smith’s hot streak continued when he and Colorado State University’s Aukai Kaai were the only two riders to mark during the weekend competition. Smith, a junior from LaSalle, Colo., and Kaai both recorded 62-point rides in the long go, but both were knocked off their bulls in the short go before the eight-second buzzer sounded. The pair split the top spot, each earning 110 points for their respective clubs.

Smith’s latest win moved him atop the regional bull riding standings. He holds a 35-point lead over teammate Coby Lane, of Torrington.

UW picked up an additional 240 team points in team roping when a pair of Pokes -- and a UW Cowgirl -- placed among the top four teams.

Denton Shaw, from Lusk, and partner Justene Hirsig, a UW Cowgirl from Cheyenne, won the opening round with a 6.5-second time and then had a 7-second time in the short go to finish second in the average. They scored 160 points each for their respective UW teams.

In the same event, JC Flake, of Mesa, Ariz., and partner Jon Peterson, from Gillette College, were fourth in the average. Flake added 80 team points for the Cowboys.

UW senior Brock Wahlert, from Casper, was busy during the weekend, placing in two separate events. In his best event, Wahlert was third in the bareback riding average and sixth in steer wrestling. He personally accounted for an additional 145 team points.

The Pronghorns took over the CRMR men’s standings through six fall and spring rodeos with 2,205 points, while LCCC climbed into second place with 2,190. Seasonlong leader and defending regional champion Sheridan College had a tough weekend, scoring just 75 points, which dropped the Generals into third place with 2,110 points. The Pokes are sixth with 1,720 points.

Hirsig was the Cowgirls’ top individual performer for the UW women at the Gillette College rodeo. The Cheyenne native scored 260 points in two separate events. Besides placing second with Shaw in team roping, the UW freshman also was the runner-up in breakaway roping.

Hirsig and Shaw have rapidly moved up the team-roping standings; they are currently second in the region.

The Gillette College women continue to lead the pack with 2,560 points with four rodeos left in the season, while the Cowgirls remain in second with 1,475 points. EWC is third with 1,140 points.

Both UW teams will be back in action this weekend when EWC hosts the latest CRMR rodeo March 23-25.

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