May 6, 2013

By Jack Nowlin, Star Tribune Staff Writer

Laramie, WY--The bulldogger had a 4.8-second run Sunday to win the short go-round and the average at the Laramie River Rendezvous. Hinman also won the long go with a 5.3 to finish the weekend with 180 points, which was enough to push him into a tie for second place in the final Central Rocky Mountain Region standings.

With the top three individuals in each event qualifying for next month’s College National Finals Rodeo at the Casper Events Center, Hinman’s big weekend was enough to earn him an automatic berth to college rodeo’s showcase event.

“It was a team effort,” Hinman said. “We had been pushing each other in practice the last couple of weeks because we knew we all had a chance to qualify.”

Northeastern bulldoggers swept the top three places in the final CRMR standings, with Caleb Weddle finishing first with 330 points followed by Hinman and Tylor Bond with 325 points apiece. In the bunched regional standings, Bond entered the weekend tied for third place, while Weddle was tied for 14th and Hinman was outside the top 15.

“We were all pretty much in the same position,” Hinman said. “We knew if we had a good rodeo we could all qualify.”

Hinman wasn’t the only competitor who used a strong performance at the Laramie River Rendezvous to jump into the top three and earn a berth to the CNFR.

Lysite’s Coralee Spratt, a freshman at NJC, finished sixth in breakaway roping and scored enough points to vault from fifth to third in the standings. And Chadron State College’s Shelby Winchell won the goat tying event to move from fourth to third and earn her second CNFR qualification.

The team races weren’t as dramatic, with the Eastern Wyoming College (4,303.3 points) holding off Gillette College (4,070) for the regional men’s title and NJC (2,705) capturing the women’s title just ahead of Gillette College (2,675).

“This is a great feeling,” Eastern Wyoming coach Jake Clark said. “It’s a reward for how hard these guys worked all year.

“I had a special feeling about this team at the start of the year, and about the second or third rodeo I could see that we could win this if we just kept competing like I knew we could.”

EWC team ropers Derek Weinreis and Levi O’Keeffe won the region with the team of Troy Wilcox and Cotey Hanson finishing second. Wilcox also claimed the CRMR all-around title.

Gillette was led by a trio of repeat CNFR qualifiers, with Casey Breuer winning his second consecutive bareback bronc riding saddle, and tie-down roper Dane Kissack and saddle bronc rider Travis Nelson also qualifying.

Central Wyoming College’s Colton Miller won the saddle bronc title Sunday with a two-head score of 146 points and won the CRMR crown for the second year in a row.

“Winning it again was my goal since the season started,” Miller said. “I’m ready to get back to the [CNFR] because last year it was my first time there and I was a little nervous; this year I’m ready.”

Other regional winners were Sheridan College bull rider Taygen Schuelke and tie-down roper Mitch McAdow from Chadron State.

The Northeastern women’s team rode the performances of Spratt and CRMR all-around winner Hayden Segelke to win the regional title for the first time in years.

Segelke, who won the barrel racing title and will be making her second trip to the CNFR, expects this year’s trip to Casper to be even better than last year’s.

“Last year was fun,” she said, “but going with the team is great. After the first couple of rodeos we knew we had a chance, but this is above and beyond what I imagined.”

Wyoming's Kaycee Nelson won breakaway roping for the second time in three years and CWC’s Shaylee Hance finished atop the goat tying standings.

Contact sports reporter Jack Nowlin at 307-266-0528 or jack.nowlin@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter @CASJackN