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Ropin' and Riggin' Days

Casper's Makenna Balkenbush competes in goat tying during Ropin' and Riggin' Days at the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo Arena Saturday, April 20, 2019.

Sunday’s championship go is all set for the 64th annual Ropin’ & Riggin’ Days Rodeo at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds Industrial Building. Saturday afternoon’s performance saw a few shake-ups in the standings, which could have a ripple effect with only one rodeo remaining between this weekend and June’s College National Finals Rodeo.

Casper College sophomore Makenna Balkenbush brought the crowd to an applause early Saturday with her go in goat tying. Balkenbush found her rhythm and finished with a time of 6.7 seconds, putting her at the top of the standings. That was enough to beat Gillette’s Taylour Latham and Eastern Wyoming’s Jacey Thompson, both of whom tied with 6.8 on Friday and also competed at last year’s CNFR.

Kyle Bloomquist of Chadron State entered Saturday as the No. 1 bareback rider in the Central Rocky Mountain Region. He jumped atop the Ropin’ & Riggin’ Days standings with his 80-point ride on a re-ride Saturday. His Chadron State teammate Kalane Anders won Saturday’s go in the steer wrestling with a time of 4.1, putting him second in the standings going into Sunday. Eastern Wyoming’s Teagen Marchant still leads after his 3.8 from Friday.

Brady Joseph of Chadron State and Clayton Symons of Laramie County CC jumped into the top of the team roping standings with a 5.9 from Saturday, enough to surpass brothers Kellan and Jerren Johnson, who roped a 6.5 on Friday.

Gillette College’s Jacob Kammerer scored a 76 in Saturday’s saddle bronc to claim his top spot in the standings. He is one of five Pronghorns along with Carter Elshere, Dylan Schofield, Jake Foster and Trey Elshere, who will compete in Sunday’s short. Casper College’s Lane Schuelke scored a 75 on Saturday to move into second.

Payton Donnelly represented the Wyoming Cowgirls with her 2.4 on Friday, which remains the top time in the breakaway roping.

Laramie County CC’s Houston Brown holds a commanding lead in the tie-down roping after his 10.2 from Friday. Casper College’s Wyatt Tarver won Saturday’s go in the tie-down with a 11.5.

The Wyoming Cowgirl tandem of Kelsey Lensegrav and Rachael Calvo are neck-and-neck in the barrel racing standings. Lensegrav scored a 15.03 on Friday and was quickly joined by her college teammate at the top of the standings after Calvo notched a 15.08. Gillette College’s Sydney Maher won Saturday’s go with a 15.28, putting her in ninth and one of four Pronghorns to make the short in barrels.

Nate Hoey of Lamar College and Kaleb Fritz of Chadron State were the only two to cover in bull riding on Saturday, making a grand total of three riders who covered from the first two days. Hoey, ranked No. 2 in the regional standings, holds a commanding lead after notching a 78. He is the heavy favorite to win his third rodeo after also winning in Sheridan and at his school’s host rodeo, since Tyrell Fisk of Gillette rode a 55 on Friday and Fritz notched just a 43 on Saturday after declining his re-ride option.

Wyoming has narrowed the gap on Eastern Wyoming in the girls’ standings of the Central Rocky Mountain Region. Eastern Wyoming now clings to just a 19.83-point lead. The University of Wyoming men remain atop the standings by a distant 1,200 points.

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High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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