Winning regional championships in the same season for the first time in 13 years, the University of Wyoming rodeo teams aim to take the next step as national title contenders. The groundwork has been established heading into the 2019-2020 schedule.
To say both UW teams are loaded this season is an understatement. The talent second-year UW coach Beau Clark retained and recruited may give notice that the Cowboys and Cowgirls will not give up their Central Rocky Mountain Region titles anytime soon.
Four of the six members from last season’s points team return, including three Cowboys who went first, second and fourth in the all-around standings at season’s end. And to show how strong the women’s team will be, only one member from last year’s four-woman team will open the season this weekend at Chadron State College.
The other three College National Finals Rodeo qualifiers from last season did not make this weekend’s points team roster. The three newcomers on the points team for the Chadron State rodeo bring in strong CNFR credentials, Clark said.
With so much talent on the point’s teams and throughout both rosters, the CRMR championships are for the Cowboys and Cowgirls to lose. But, Clark is taking the wait-and-see approach before the season begins.
“I’m sure other programs will be very successful, and there are good coaches in our region,” Clark said. “So, it’s hard to know what everyone has, but I’m sure they also have done a good job recruiting. “We will have to work hard at it this year just to repeat.”
Clark admits he had a tough decision to make in selecting the points teams this weekend because several on both clubs have CNFR experience or bring in top-notch credentials from the national high school level.
“It’s great this year because we have so many kids who could be on the points team,” he said. “We have lots of talented student-athletes on the teams. And there are more on the team who could be a surprise.”
Two-time regional breakaway roping champion Teisha Coffield, of Yuma, Colorado, heads the women’s team this weekend. The Cowgirls, as a team, finished fifth in the nation last season. Coffield is the defending all-around CRMR champion and was the national points leader in breakaway roping. She finished among the top 10 in goat tying at last season’s CNFR.
Also tabbed to the points team is Eastern Wyoming College transfer Jaycee Thompson, of Yoder, who was second in the all-around to new teammate, Coffield. Thompson is a two-time CNFR qualifier in both goats and breakaway roping.
Casey Reimler, of Rozet, is a three-time CNFR qualifier and past goat-tying regional champion. She has been on the Cowgirls’ points team on and off during her UW career.
And the fourth member is newcomer Taylour Latham, from Roosevelt, Utah, and a transfer from perennial regional power Gillette College. She is a two-time regional champion goat tyer and was the CNFR reserve national champion in goat tying two years ago. She placed among the top 10 in her specialty event during last season’s national finals.
Leading the men’s team, which finished eighth at last year’s CNFR, is defending all-around titleholder Seth Peterson, of Minot, North Dakota. He was fifth at last year’s CNFR steer wrestling competition.
Caden Camp, of Belgrade, Montana, was the regional all-around runner-up to Peterson. He was second as the header in team roping and fourth in steer wrestling. He was named the CNFR’s rookie of the year last season.
Ty Everson, from Helena, Montana, also contended for the all-around last season, placing fourth in total points. He was third in the regional steer wrestling standings and was fourth in the nation last season in the event.
The fourth returning points team member is Jase Staudt, of Nathrop, Colorado. He is the defending Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Mountain States all-around champion. He finished among the top three in both heading in team roping and calf roping in the CRMR last season.
A pair of Laramie County Community College transfers will see action for the first time this weekend as UW Cowboys.
Houston Brown, of Broadus, Montana, was third in the CRMR all-around, rides saddle broncs, and is both a calf roper and team roper. Brown also is a former National High School Rodeo saddle bronc riding champion. The Cowboys did not have a roughstock competitor on the points team for a majority of last season.
And Austin Hurlburt, from Norfolk, Nebraska, won the tie-down roping title and was second in the all-around two years ago.