Cowgirl team tops nation, keeps building
Laramie — University of Wyoming senior Nikki Steffes won the all-around women’s championship at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper after placing second in goat tying, 11th in breakaway roping, and 18th in barrel racing.
Steffes, of Vale, S.D., is double majoring in molecular biology and medical microbiology in the College of Agriculture.
Steffes helped lead the Cowgirls to their second national team championship in three years. Teammate Sarah Mulholland, a senior nursing major from Richland Center, Wis., won the goat tying crown and was third in all-around. The rodeo was June 14-20 at the Casper Events Center.
“This one was a little sweeter because of the quality of the women we had competing for us,” says UW rodeo coach George Howard. “We were knocking on the door last year, and it would have been nice to have it three years in a row – I hate to say it – but they don’t come together like this, and that’s what makes it so special. I’ll probably never see another group of girls like this, all at once.”
Mulholland is no longer eligible to compete on the team, while Steffes will participate in college rodeos this fall though her points will not count in the Cowgirls’ team standings. Steffes was granted another year of eligibility because she is a student director of the Central Rocky Mountain Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA).
Howard is already speaking highly about the Cowgirls’ opportunity for continued success as he recruited star rodeo athlete Dana Weiser of Wheatland, who placed fourth in the all-around standings at this year’s CNFR.
Weiser transferred to UW this semester from South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. She is a junior majoring in computer science.
“Our team will be young but should be very competitive,” Howard says. “Dana is an outstanding young lady, an outstanding rodeo athlete, and that’s a good base to build on.”
Howard is confident Weiser and the other young athletes will learn from Steffes, who will go down as arguably the greatest all-around Cowgirl in team history. She is the school’s all-time leading scorer and won the regional all-around title in each of her four years at UW.
The Cowgirls and Cowboys opened their fall season at the Chadron State College rodeo Sept. 11-13 in Chadron, Neb.
Upcoming rodeos include: Central Wyoming College, Riverton, Sept. 18-20; Sheridan College, Sheridan, Sept. 25-27; Lamar Community College, Lamar, Colo., Oct. 2-4; and Laramie County Community College, Cheyenne, Oct. 16-18.
UW hosts its rodeo the first weekend of May during the spring season of the NIRA’s Central Rocky Mountain Region.
For more about UW rodeo, go to www.uwyo.edu/Rodeo.