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Big Piney’s Kolby Bradley and Arye Espenschied entered this week’s National High School Finals Rodeo as the No. 1 team roping tandem in Wyoming.

They showed why Wednesday morning at the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs with a 7.09-second run that placed them third in the first go-round. Kason Davis and Bryce Graves from Mississippi won the first go with a time of 6.74 seconds.

Wednesday morning’s performance marked the end of the first go, with the second go scheduled to begin Wednesday night and run through Saturday morning. The top-12 competitors in each event qualify for Saturday night’s championship go-round.

Wyoming competitors joining Bradley and Espenschied in the top 10 after the first go were Gillette’s Shay Hough, Yoder’s Haiden Thompson and Clearmont’s Brooke Worman. Hough placed fourth in the pole bending with a 20.448-second run while Thompson was fifth in the goat tying with a 7.44 and Worman was eighth in goat tying with a 7.66.

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Thompson is also second in the all-around rookie cowgirl standings with 160 points.

Other top-15 finishers in the first go for Wyoming were team ropers Blake Afdahl (Torrington) and Clay Reiner (Buffalo), who were 12th; Casper’s Wes Bray, 13th in boys cutting; Gillette’s Madison Wolff, 13th in pole bending; bareback bronc riders Riggen Myers (Baggs) and Donny Proffit (Diamondville), who were 13th and 15th, respectively; and Grover’s Dalton McCaslin, 13th in bull riding.

The Wyoming girls were second in the team standings with 1,185 points; Utah was leading with 1,565 points. The boys were 12th in the team standings while Wyoming was fourth in the overall team standings.

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Sports Editor

Jack Nowlin returned to the Star-Tribune in 2007 after eight years covering Michigan State University athletics. A Wyoming native, and a graduate of Jeffrey City High School and the University of Wyoming, Jack serves as the Star-Tribune’s sports editor.

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