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Rodeo

Shoshoni – On Sept. 2-3, contestants from around the region traveled to Shoshoni to compete in the Ranch Rodeo on Sept. 2 and the open rodeo on Sept. 3.

“We would like to thank everyone who made the 15th Annual Shoshoni Labor Day Weekend Rodeo possible,” said Bess Johnson, who organizes the event. “We had two great nights of rodeo this year.”

Johnson continued, “We hope to see everyone next year.”

In the ranch rodeo, nine teams competed in five events. The results are listed below.

Overall teams

1. Broken Circle

2. Crowheart Cowboys

3. Three Geese Livestock

4. Western Skies Vet Service

5. Open Range Ranch

Team Doctoring

1. Western Skies Vet Service

2. Regulators

Team Branding

1. Three Geese Livestock

2. Crowheart Cowboys

Wild Cow Milking

1. Western Skies Vet Service

2. Broken Circle

Ribbon Roping

1. Three Geese Livestock

2. Dun Broke

Bronc Riding

1. Broken Circle

2. Crowheart Cowboys

Sheep Riding

1. Evelyn Sare

Top Ranch Horse

Jared Sare’s horse Rocky, Western Skies Vet Service

Top Cowgirl

Jill Logan, Regulators

The Sept. 3 open rodeo brought contestants in 13 events.

Barrels

1. Amy Strickland

2. Kati Winfield

Ranch Barrels

1. Alicia Peacock

2. Tara Peter

Senior Barrels

1. Elise Campbell

2. Coyote Washakie

Junior Barrels

1. Madison Omera

2. Mesa Allen

PeeWee Barells

1. Ian Johnson

Breakaway

1. Coralee Spratt

2. Cannon Campbell

Calf Roping

1. EJ Panetta

2. Levi Coyle

Saddle Bronc

No qualified rides

Ranch Bronc

1. Robbie Harrison

2. Colt Chlarson

Mixed Team Roping

1. Jade Espencheid and Chad Espencheid

2. Skye Glick and Harold Meeks

Open Team Roping

1. Frank Enos and Jared Bilby

2. Dahl Nichols and Chance Nichols

Bulls

1. Marty Custer

2. Colby Minert

Sheep Riding

1. Louis Nicholas

For more from the 2017 event, visit facebook.com/#!/ShoshoniRodeo.

Casper – Gillette College’s Jordan Thurston-Miller took the top spot in the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) goat tying on June 15, after successful tying four goats in 24.8 seconds.

Thurston-Miller was joined at the event by a number of other Wyoming cowboys and cowgirls who placed in the top 10 during the CNFR across many of the events. 

Wyoming students who placed in the top 10 of each event are listed below. 

Saddle Bronc Riding

10.Zeke Thurston – Sheridan College

Bareback Riding

4.Casey Breuer – Gillette College

7.Devan Reilly – Gillette College

Tie Down Roping 

6.Colton Redmond – Northwest College

9.Tyler Schnaufer – University of Wyoming

Team Roping

2.Levi O’Keeffe and Derek Weinreis – Eastern Wyoming College

Breakaway Roping

2.Kaycee Nelson – University of Wyoming

Goat Tying 

1.Jordan Thurston-Miller – Gillette College

4.Shaylee Hance – Central Wyoming College

Men’s All-Around

4.Dane Kissack – Gillette College

Men’s Teams

4.Eastern Wyoming College

8.Gillette College

Women’s Teams

4.Gillette College

 

Loveland, Colo. – During the 2018 Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo, University of Wyoming Rodeo Coach Beau Clark and UW Team Roper J.C. Flake saw big results. The event, held Oct. 25-27 at The Ranch in Loveland, Colo., saw cowboys and cowgirls from across the region compete for buckles, year-end titles, over $158,000 in prize money and the chance to qualify for the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Fla. 

Clark, competing in steer wrestling, completed his run in the final round 3.8 seconds.

“I thought he was a really good chance to make a good run,” Clark comments. “Winning takes care of itself.” 

Clark has competed in Florida twice before, but this year is the first year he’ll make the trip with his family.

“I’ll be fun,” he says.

Flake also qualified to compete in Florida after winning the team roping event. 

Flake finished sixth in the Resistol “Rookie of the Year” standings. He and partner Paul Beckett from Laramie won the Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo, finishing off three steers in 17.7 seconds. 

Flake says, “My partner did a great job. Our game plan was to just get him caught and let the other guy do what they were going to do. We were going to do the best job we could and see how it fell. It fell in our favor, and we get to go to Kissimmee.”

Flake also sees significance in competing at the national event with his coach.

“Beau and I get to fly down together as a coach and his athlete. That’s really cool,” he says. “Our plan was, ‘If you’re making it, I’m making it.’ We both got it done, and it worked out great.”

Casper – After a grueling year, the Casper College Thunderbirds Rodeo Team will send 9 members of their team to the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) to compete with the top student athletes from around the nation.

“This year’s team is an amazing team,” says Jhett Johnson, assistant coach for the rodeo team. “They are so diversified.”

At this year’s CNFR, Casper College will be represented by Lacey Camp, Dantan Bertsch, Dylan Wahlert, Justin Harrell, Jake Fulton, Neil Williams, Drew Antone, Cawl Braithwaite and Joseph Barquin.

Thunderbirds rodeo

The Casper College Men’s Rodeo Team will be competing at the CNFR after taking the top spot in the Central Rocky Mountain Region at the end of the season, and Lacey Camp, who ended at second in the region’s breakaway roping, earned the spot to compete on the women’s side of the event.

Individually, Casper College’s men also performed well, with Dantan Bertsch winning the bareback riding and Cawl Braithwaite winning the bull riding.

Justin Harrell took reserve champion in saddle bronc, and Drew Antone also took reserve in the bull riding. In the steer wrestling event, Jake Fulton came out as reserve champion. Dylan Wahlert took the third place title in bareback riding, and Neil Williams ended third in bull riding. Williams was also the reserve champion all-around cowboy.

“The timed event guys are really strong,” Johnson says. “The rough stock guys are amazingly strong. They held steady and dominated all season this year.”

“We have had a really good team,” he continues. “They get along really well, and they are full of talent.”

Inside the season

Rodeo Coach Tom Parker notes that the men’s rodeo team started out strong, took a dip and then recovered.

“When we look at what we got done, these young men performed to the very best of their ability, and they performed to the top of anyone’s expectations,” he says. “It has been an opportunity and an honor for me to coach this group.”

The season started at Central Wyoming College, where the Thunderbirds finished fourth. They continued to Chadron State where they placed second.

“Right in the middle, we just took a nosedive, and I thought we were in for a long season,” Parker continues, mentioning that the team took sixth at the Sheridan College rodeo and fifth at Lamar’s event. “We went to Laramie County Community College, picked it back up and won.”

In the spring, the men’s rodeo team took second at the first rodeo of 2015 in Gillette, following the performance with a second place finish at Eastern Wyoming College, a first place finish at Colorado State University and a second place title at Casper’s rodeo.

At the final rodeo of the season, the University of Wyoming, the team took the top spot, and Parker comments, “When we got all done, we probably had as good a rodeo at the University of Wyoming as we have had for many years.”

With a total of 4,125 points, the team handily took the top spot in the region, earning them the rights to compete at CNFR.

“This team has some outstanding talent that was very apparent,” Parker says. “This was a very rewarding year. We started out strong and continued to improve throughout the entire rodeo season.”

Student leadership

As CNFR prepares to head to Casper for its year-end event, student directors of the event are also preparing themselves for a busy week.

“I’m excited about the buzz that surrounds CNFR,” Lane Santos-Karney, student at California Polytechnic State University, comments. “Everyone who shows up has worked so hard to get there – both in the arena and in school to stay on top of their studies. It is a huge reward to have the chance to compete for a national title.”

Santos-Karney jumped into a student director position this year and is currently serving as president. He notes that serving in the capacity of National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association President has given him the chance to meet a number of students and create lasting memories.

Shelbie Weeder, student vice president of Oklahoma Panhandle State University, adds, “This is a very cool opportunity for me. As student directors, we oversee everything that happens during the event. We make sure people are where they are supposed to be and that all our bases are covered.”

Rodeo benefits

But CNFR is more than just competing for these students.

Weeder comments, “I’m really excited for CNFR this year. The atmosphere is really great.”

She further notes that CNFR brings the best of college rodeo together for a week of competition and celebration.

“It is really fun to hang out with a group of people our age who are so determined to accomplish their goals,” Weeder adds. “CNFR is a fantastic experience.”

“Rodeo has such a heritage,” Lane notes. “There are a lot of kids who won’t go on to professionally rodeo, but college rodeo gives those who are going to school a chance to take that route.”

While they have the opportunity to compete in an event that matters to them culturally, Lane notes that it also allows them to pursue a career pathway.

“College rodeo is one of the greatest organizations,” Lane continues. “We see so many generations and so many great memories from college rodeo. It brings a lot of memories and creates a bond that ties us all together.”

Learn more about CNFR or purchase tickets for the event at cnfr.org.

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Casper College sophomore Neil Williams solidified his spot at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) and is preparing for his second appearance at the event. The CNFR will run June 9-15 in Casper.
Rodeoing since his freshman year of high school, Williams is a seasoned veteran in his qualifying event – bull riding. During high school, he also rode saddle bronc and bareback bronc but chose to focus on bull riding and bareback during college.

“I am hoping to get back into saddle bronc as soon as possible,” Williams adds, already looking towards next season. 

Last year, Williams qualified with the Thunderbird team to ride in his first CNFR. This year, he is the only T-Bird to competing at the Finals.

“I was shocked I am the only one,” says Williams. “There were a lot of really good guys that were on the bubble during the last qualifier that didn’t make it.”

“We have had an excellent year,” says Tom Parker, rodeo coach for the Casper College Thunderbirds. “We had some ups and downs, but we just were not quite there. However, I am excited about the team we have coming back next year and the kids we have coming in.”

Preparing for the ride

Williams is proud that he made it to the finals on his own merit. He is also preparing for the CNFR by “doing what I did all season – working out and hitting rodeos so I can keep in practice.”

Going into the CNFR, Williams plans to employ the techniques that have helped him place in the top spots during the season.

“In bull riding, you try not to think about what you are doing before you ride, so everyone makes jokes in the chute,” William states.  “This is so we don’t over think our ride and freeze up.”

Williams also explains that bull riding is less about reading the animal and more about reacting. 

“When I think I know what the animal is going to do next, it is probably going to do the exact opposite,” Williams says. 

Hard work pays off

Williams has been going strong all season with a first place finish in bull riding at Central Wyoming College. He also won the all-around title with a second place bull riding finish and third place in bareback riding at Sheridan College. 

“Neil has done an outstanding job this year,” says Parker. “He worked his events and was in contention for both events right up until the last rodeo. He had a good year for both events and was in contention for the all-around. He has done an amazing job.”

Williams will be competing in rodeos up until the CNFR begins and is feeling confident heading into the finals. 

“I feel really good about the CNFR,” he says. “I have been doing really good at the rodeos, so that is a confidence boost, and I have had a lot of support from the community.”

“The team has been very supportive of Neil going to the finals,” says Parker. “We work as a team, not as an individuals. We are going to be there rooting him on and helping him any way we can.”

He also says his family has been a huge support. His father, who also rode bulls in high school, has encouraged him every season. 

Plans after college

Williams, a drafting and design major at Casper College, plans on staying in the rodeo circuit after graduation. 

“I plan on doing pro rodeo as long as possible and try and hold off on getting a real job,” Williams chuckles. 

With only sophomore standing, Williams has ample time to compete in more CNFRs, gaining the experience he needs for professional rodeo. 

 His passion for the sport also drives him to perform at his best in local rodeos and at the CNFR. 

“Rodeo is a lot of fun, and I can’t think of many other sports that can pay for a college education,” Williams says. “I also like the accomplishment. The greatest sense of accomplishment I can have is riding an animal. I wrestled in high school and won at that but it did not give that sense of accomplishment as conquering an animal that is out to get you does.” 

Kelsey Tramp is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.