* University of Wyoming press release

LARAMIE -- After dominating the Laramie River Rendezvous Rodeo over the weekend, the University of Wyoming men’s team proved in front of its home crowd that it has the talent and depth to compete for a College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) championship.

The Cowboys, who wrapped up their fourth consecutive Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) title weeks ago, won the final four regional rodeos to dominate once again.

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With every member of the points team chipping in, the Cowboys closed out the season in front of packed houses each night in scoring their highest production of the combined fall and spring seasons with 875 points, pushing their season total to 6,656.65 points heading into next month’s CNFR in Casper.

Just the top two teams, along with the top three individuals in each event, secure automatic bids to college rodeo’s biggest show. Casper College finished a distant second to UW’s men for the second straight season, scoring 4,685 points, while placing as the runners-up in UW’s home rodeo. The T-Birds put up 455 points in the three-day finale.

“I thought our men’s team had its best performance of the year,” UW fourth-year Coach Beau Clark says. “It was an incredible night, and they showcased their hard work and talent. Really excited about the crew we are taking to the college finals.”

It will be the same lineup that has been intact for most of the season: Cameron Jensen, of Hyannis, Neb.; Bodie Mattson, of Sturgis, S.D.; Rio Nutter, from Rapid City, S.D.; Brice Patterson, of Bozeman, Mont.; Kemmerer’s Donny Proffit; and Jacob Wang, of Baker, Mont.

The Cowgirls also put together a strong second half but could not quite overtake seasonlong CRMR leader Gillette College for the team title. The UW women matched their male counterparts in winning the final home rodeo while taking three of the five spring events.

UW’s women won over the weekend with 385 points, compared to Eastern Wyoming College’s second-place 193.3 points. The Cowgirls fell just 264 points shy of Gillette College’s overall regional total by a final 3,564-3,300.83 margin.

“Hats off to Gillette -- they had an incredible year and were fun to watch,” Clark says. “We are sure proud of what all our women accomplished, and I know they will be ready to compete in Casper.”

The women will be led at the CNFR by two-event champion Sage Kohr, of Gillette, along with teammates Faith Hoffman, from Kiowa, Colo., and Thermopolis’ Emme Norsworthy. The fourth points team member will be determined later.

A pair of event champions in the home rodeo paced the Cowboys.

Mattson, as the header, and heeler partner Carson Johnson, of Casper College, came through with the short go’s top time, stopping the clock in 4.5 seconds to secure the win in the average. Johnson, who won a national team roping title a year ago with his brother, won the regional title again, this time with Mattson as his new header.

Two UW team ropers and their partners also placed in the average over the weekend.

Rio Nutter and his partner Reece Wadhams, of Laramie County Community College, were third. The pair were the region’s second-best team ropers this season, and Nutter finished third in the CRMR all-around.

Additionally, Cameron Jensen, of Hyannis, Neb., who was the all-around champion in the region this season, was fourth in the team roping average with partner Tanner Whetham, of Chadron State College. Jensen also was the region’s top tie down roper for the combined fall/spring seasons.

Mattson, who was the regional all-around reserve champion this year, won the home finale all-around when he also placed second in tie down roping. He also was third in the final regional standings.

In that same event, two UW nonpoints team members placed among the top three: Saratoga’s Kaden Berger won the event when he had the best short go time, and Stratton Kohr, of Gillette, placed third in the average.

In one of the most anticipated showdowns of the weekend, the region’s top three bareback riders, Myles Carlson, from Casper College, Patterson and Proffit put on a show during Friday’s and Saturday’s performances.

Carlson scored 83.5 points on his opening ride, while Patterson marked at 82 points to finish just a half point ahead of teammate Proffit.  The trio were just getting warmed up for the short go, with Carlson scoring 83.5 points for the second straight night, while Patterson also matched his previous night’s score.

However, Proffit stole the show, coming from the No. 3 position to win it all with a region-best mark of the year with an 86-point ride.

“I just wanted to go out there tonight and have fun. That’s been my goal all year, to let it all hang out and just to have a blast,” Proffit said after his best ride of the year. “I knew it would be a good score on my ride. I just had so much fun.”

It capped a strong week for the in-state senior, who set a new arena record when he scored 90 points in pro rodeo saddle bronc competition in Red Bluff, Calif., the weekend before.

“It’s been a great week. I hope I can keep it rolling over the summer months,” he added.

Overall, Patterson and Proffit placed second and third, respectively, to Carlson in the final regional standings.

Nonpoints team members Colton Farrow, of Greybull, and Drake Amundson, from Wheatland, were fifth and sixth, respectively, in the bareback riding average for the Cowboys.

Wang, who won the regional steer wrestling title this season, added third-place points in the event for the Cowboys in the final rodeo.

Hoffman was named the home rodeo’s all-around champion when she took the average in goat tying on the strength of the opening round’s best time and splitting second in the short go. The senior was the region’s second-best performer this season. Kenna McNeill, from Hobbs, N.M., split fourth place with UW nonpoints team member Riata Day, of Fleming, Colo.

Hoffman later added barrel racing points, an event won by nonpoints team member McKenzi Scott, of Rock Springs. Additionally, McNeill wrapped up the team’s scoring by placing third in breakaway roping.

Even though she did not place in the average over the weekend, Sage Kohr was a regional champion in two events -- breakaway roping and barrel racing. She missed being the CRMR’s reserve all-around champion by just 56 points.

Norsworthy was the team’s top breakaway roper, which earned her third in the final regional standings.

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