TORRINGTON – The members of the Eastern Wyoming College rodeo team starts its preparation for this weekend in the fall with getting contracts together and doing fundraising.
If all goes according to plan, with all that wrapped by mid-February, all that is left is getting the Goshen County Fairgrounds ready the week of the rodeo.
“Come Friday when it starts, that’s the fun part. We enjoy putting on the rodeo for the community and the colleges. Hopefully, we can get some people in the stands to enjoy it.”
Action gets underway Friday with slack at 1 p.m., while the evening performance begins at 7 p.m. On Saturday, the slack begins at 9 a.m. with the evening performance starting at 7 p.m. Sunday’s championship short-go begins at 11 a.m.
March 22-24 will be the 22nd year of the Lancer Rodeo, and even though the first times and scores won’t role in until Friday afternoon, things really pick up for the team on Thursday.
“We’ll be out there all day. The rodeo stock comes in and we get them prepped,” Clark said. “Friday morning, that’s when your personnel show up as far as secretary, judges, timers, announcer, contractors and all that stuff. You get them squared away, and once the rodeo starts, it basically runs itself.”
The home arena advantage is nice, but it doesn’t help the Lancer teams like it might in other sports.
“When it comes to something like barrel racing, a horse gets used to an arena. Otherwise, it’s you and an animal competing, and it really doesn’t matter what arena you are in. You have to go compete well on that animal,” Clark said. “The other advantage is, you aren’t traveling. You are staying in your own bed. Your horse is staying in their pen. There are some outside advantages to that. Plus, it’s always fun for the students to compete at home.”
When the action starts on Friday, the EWC women will be led by a trio of athletes – Karissa Rayhill, Jacey Thompson and Brooke Glass – that have the Lady Lancers sitting on top of the Central Rocky Mountain Region standings.
“All three of them are really stepping up and earning points,” Clark said. “They are outstanding team members, work hard and compete well.”
Thompson currently leads the women’s all-round standings, while Rayhill leads the goat tying standings. Glass comes into the weekend ranked 11th in breakaway roping.
EWC, Gillette College and the University of Wyoming women’s teams are separated by only 148.33 points.
“After the first rodeo, we are still No. 1, but it’s going to be a tough race between two other schools,” Clark said. “It’ll come down to the last rodeo, and that’s a great place to be.”
On the men’s side, the Lancers are led by tie-down roper Chadron Coffield who has a commanding 160-point lead over Jase Staudt of UW.
The Lancers also have a handful of team ropers throughout the standings.
Braden Pirrung, a header, ranks fifth, while Canton Afdahl is ninth and Jace Roselle also cracks the top 15 in the CRMR header standings.
Dalton Wieneke, Afdahl’s heeler, is ranked 11th.
As a team, the Lancer men sits eight in the regional standings.
During Clark’s time at EWC, he has helped guide 101 student-athletes to reach the College National Finals Rodeo.
This weekend’s rodeo is estimated to bring in between 270-290 competitors between 13 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association colleges and universities to the Goshen County Fairgrounds.
Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for children.
Central Rocky Mountain Region Standings
1. University of Wyoming 3,210
2. Sheridan College 2,315
3. Gillette College 2,165
4. Chadron State 2,040
5. Central Wyoming 1,825
6. Casper College 1,615
7. Laramie County 1,590
8. Eastern Wyoming 900
9. Otero JC 715
10. Lamar 300
11. Colorado State 230
1. Eastern Wyoming 1,568.33
2. Gillette College 1,455
3. University of Wyoming 1,420
4. Chadron State 1,143.33
5. Casper College 988.33
6. Northeastern 890
7. Laramie County 508.33
8. Central Wyoming 435
9. Colorado State 345
10. Sheridan College 255
11. Otero 80