Cowboys roll to opening rodeo victory

·3 min read

Sep. 23—New season. Same result. Nothing has changed except some of the names.

Even with a new-look lineup this fall, the University of Wyoming men's rodeo team keeps dominating the Central Rocky Mountain Region. The Cowboys opened the fall schedule, picking up where they left off from last season's record-breaking season, by taking the Chadron State College rodeo last weekend.

The UW men steamrolled the competition once again, accumulating 805 points to send early notice that they will once again challenge for the CRMR team title, a feat the Cowboys have accomplished the past four seasons.

Casper College, which finished second to UW in the men's team race last season, opened the season in the runner-up position with 460, while Laramie County Community College was third with 310.

The Cowgirls, who also are seeking their fourth straight regional title, will have to wait until this weekend to see if they finished among the contending teams at Chadron State. Barrel racing was canceled by regional officials and will be made up Friday morning in Riverton before the Central Wyoming College rodeo begins.

Without the official barrel-racing totals, the Cowgirls had scored 290 points in the two other women's events — goat tying and breakaway roping — and only trailed Gillette College, which tallied 365 after the two events.

Coming into the new season, the Cowboys faced replacing half their points team but returned three others who all qualified for last summer's College National Finals Rodeo. Even with a revamped lineup last weekend, the UW men showed their depth.

Newcomer Bodie Mattson led the Cowboys when he and team-roping partner Carson Johnson won both the long and short go rounds to take the average. Mattson added 95 points — for a total of 245 for the weekend — by placing fourth in the tie-down average. He also is the early all-around leader in the region.

Four more Cowboys scored points for the team's overall effort:

— Another newcomer to the six-man points team, Kaden Berger, placed fourth in the steer-wrestling average to score 100 points for the team.

— Cam Jensen added 150 points placing in a pair of events. He and partner Tanner Whetham, of Chadron State, combined for fourth in team roping, and Jensen added points by finishing third in the tie-down average.

— In what is shaping up to be a repeat of last season's bareback riding competition, which went down to the final weekend of the season, teammates Brice Patterson and Donny Proffit split first place in the event for the opening weekend. Proffit's effort was boosted with the short go's best mark. Patterson is the defending CRMR bareback champion, while Proffit was second.

Several other Cowboys not on the points team also placed. Dylan Grant was the rodeo's top bull rider; Jacob Wang was the steer wrestling runner-up; and Colton Farrow and Drake Amundson were fourth and sixth, respectively, in bareback.

With partial results in, a newcomer on the UW women's four-member points team, Kenna McNeill had a goat tying trifecta, recording the top times in the long and short go rounds to win the overall average. She accounted for 180 points.

The final scoring came from veteran Kelsey Lensegrav, who split second place in the goat-tying average. Goat tying was the bread and butter event for the Cowgirls last season, when the entire four-member team competed in that event at the CNFR.

Two Cowgirls not selected for the points team also placed at Chadron State in their respective events. Jordyn McNamee was fifth in breakaway roping, and teammate Kodey Hoss placed fifth in goat tying.

"It was a great weekend of learning and growing," UW Coach Beau Clark says in a news release. "We are inching closer to our goals in Casper for the CNFR."