* University of Wyoming press release

LARAMIE -- Several University of Wyoming team members saw action Monday for the first time and positioned themselves for a shot of making the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) championship round at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper.

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All six Cowboys and four Cowgirls competed in Monday’s slack, with two men’s competitors finishing the second of three guaranteed rounds. Tuesday is another round of slack, with the first of five consecutive night performances beginning that evening. Each contestant will be featured in the night performances Tuesday through Friday, with the top 12 individual times/marks from the week qualifying for Saturday’s short go Saturday evening.

A rundown after Monday’s slack:

-- For half of the first section of tie down roping, Bodie Mattson, of Sturgis, S.D., was the overall leader but, after the completion of the round, he had slipped to eighth overall with a time of 10.1 seconds. This is his third CNFR after qualifying the previous two seasons for Gillette College. He has never competed in the CNFR’s calf roping, however.

“It was a pretty surreal moment for me roping calves here, and it was pretty fun,” Mattson says. “It was a good run, and I did what I wanted to do. I had a slight bobble on my tie at the end. I could have been a little quicker on him, and it cost me a few tenths of a second, but I’m happy with my time.”

Later in the day, Mattson and partner Carson Johnson, from Casper College, had a team roping no time. Mattson had a clean rope over the steer’s head, but Johnson’s loop came up short on the heels.

-- Kemmerer’s Donny Proffit was all prepared for a high score knowing that he drew a good horse in Positive Time to start the second round of bareback riding. However, the hard-bucking horse stumbled three seconds out of the chute, tried to get up and fell over on its side, trapping the Kemmerer student-athlete from his waist down. Arena officials quickly ran out to keep the horse down so that Proffit could free himself.

On the way out of the arena, with a crushed cowboy hat in hand, Proffit, with a wide grin, stated the obvious: “I want my re-ride.”

About 15 minutes later, he scored 75.5 points on the reride, giving him 151.5 total points on two head.

“You always want the first one to go good and be done after that one, but I felt good on my re-ride,” Proffit says about the horse he knew nothing about. “However, I don’t mind it so much getting that second chance.”

Proffit says his score was not what he had hoped for, but his two-round total keeps him in contention in the average.

“I have to show out on my last one so I can be up there to be in the race for it,” he adds. “I’m excited for my last one Tuesday night and hopefully another one Saturday night.”

-- Cam Jensen preceded Mattson in tie down roping but got off to a slow start when he had difficulty dropping the calf to the ground. The Hyannis, Neb., team member then was slow to get a good, clean tie, giving him a 19.8-second time.

Later, he and partner Tanner McInerney, of Gillette College, had a team roping no time. Jensen managed a clean loop over the steer’s head, but McInerney was unsuccessful.

-- And, UW’s third qualified team roper, Rio Nutter, from Rapid City, S.D., and partner Reece Wadhams, from Laramie County Community College, also had a tough first round. Nutter did his job, but Wadhams had a short throw on the steer’s heels.

-- In a rare occurrence, Brice Patterson, of Bozeman, Mont., was bucked off in the bareback riding competition. After recording a competitive 74.5 points in the opening round Sunday, the UW junior was flipped up high in the air when his hand blew completely out of the rigging on Positive Times’ fourth jump, leaving him with a no score.

-- Later in the morning, Jacob Wang, the regional bulldogging champion this past season, also had a difficult round. The Baker, Mont., student-athlete had a no time when his steer took a sharp turn to the left, running along the fence and outrunning Wang’s horse the rest of the way.

-- Kenna McNeill got off to a solid start in her first CNFR appearance for the Cowgirls. The Hobbs, N.M., competitor stopped the goat tying clock at 6.3 seconds, giving her a split of fifth place in the first section of competition.

-- Following McNeill in goat tying, Faith Hoffman, the regional runner-up in the event, had her final CNFR appearance this week, making a clean run. Even though she bobbled her tie just a bit, Hoffman recorded a 6.7-second time.

“I was back-to-back with my teammate, which was special,” Hoffman says. “I watched her make a great run and, on the same goat, I had a good time that shouldn’t keep me out. I make another run Tuesday, another Wednesday and, hopefully, make the short go Saturday.”

Hoffman, who has been tying goats since she was 8 growing up in Kiowa, Colo., reflected on her final season, calling it “a blessing to be here and do what we do.”

“Goat tying has been a big part of my life,” she adds. “I found a passion at a young age tying goats; I’ve loved it. This definitely is the end of my competitive career, and I hope to continue with the sport as a coach.”

-- Emme Norsworthy was “ecstatic” to make her first CNFR in barrel racing -- a dream of hers since she was a youngster. The Thermopolis sophomore’s debut was a good one, as she stopped the clock in 14.35 seconds, putting her eighth overall on the first day of competition.

“I just wanted to make a good, smooth pass around the barrels to kick off the week right,” Norsworthy says. “My goal this week is to keep all the barrels up and go cleanly around the pattern to make good clean runs.”

-- Gillette’s Sage Kohr had a tough opening barrel racing run when she knocked over the second barrel. She was given a 5-second penalty, leaving her with a 19.63-second run.

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