The Laramie County Community College rodeo team looked to bounce back after a disappointing fall season, and they did just that.
At the Gillette College rodeo on March 16-17, the men’s team placed third overall with 445 points and the women placed seventh with 130 points.
Bernard Girard won the tie-down roping event at the rodeo with an average time of 20.9 seconds on two runs. Girard wasn’t the only one on the men’s team to win his event, as Austin Hurlburt continued to open eyes as he teamed up with Brandy Schaack from the University of Wyoming to win the team-roping event with an average time of 17.5. Hurlburt also placed seventh in the steer-wrestling event.
On the women’s side, Morgan Darnell made her presence known by winning the breakaway roping. Darnell won the event by posting a time of 5.3 seconds on two runs.
According to Darnell, the win meant a lot to her, as she has won rodeos before, but never for LCCC. It was also where her brother was able to win his first rodeo event at the Gillette College rodeo.
Georgie Lage placed third in the breakaway event.
At the Eastern Wyoming College rodeo held March 22-24, the men’s team finished second behind Casper College with 435 total points. Brock Belkham won the tie-down roping with a time of 20 seconds flat. Houston Brown took second in saddle bronc with a score of 155, and Girard was fourth in steer wrestling with a time of 21.1 seconds. Rance Johnson was fifth in the team roping-header with 22.8 seconds.
At the Colorado State University rodeo, the men placed second as a team, and the women placed fifth.
Johnson won the tie-down roping event and then placed fifth in the steer wrestling event, which helped him place second in the all-around. Brown took second in the saddle bronc event, and helped move himself up in the Central Rocky Mountain Region standings. He also placed sixth in team roping-header and sixth in the all-around standings. Girard placed second in tie-down roping, sixth in team roping-header, and seventh in the all-around. Hurlbert was seventh in tie-down roping. Robert Cord Jeffrey finished sixth in team roping-header.
For the LCCC women’s team, Cassidy March and Sydney Graff finished second and third in the barrel racing.
During the final rodeo of the season, Brown kept up his hot streak, finishing second in the saddle bronc once again. Brown, who is from Miles City, Montana, rode for an 81-point ride in the first round, which was the second-highest of the rodeo. Brown scored 12 seconds on two runs in steer wrestling, which helped him take home a part of second place, as he tied with Central Wyoming’s Tyler Davidson. Brown was right behind teammate Girard, who took home the steer wrestling title with a time of 10.6 in two runs. He had a 5.0 in the finals, which was the fastest of the rodeo. Austin Hurlburt took second in the tie-down roping. The men’s team ended the rodeo in second place behind University of Wyoming.
Brown was unable to qualify in any events for the College National Finals Rodeo, but he said he is happy with how his spring season went.
“My spring was pretty good, couldn’t have been a whole lot better. I wish my fall season had been better,” Brown said.
The standout missed the fall season because of a shoulder injury that hurt him in the standings to make the CNFR. According to Brown, he is planning on competing at as many rodeos as he can to help him get healthy and prepare for the next step. Then in the fall, he will be attending UW to major in agriculture production technology, and he will compete for former LCCC head coach Beau Clark.
“The sky’s the limit for Houston, and I hope he finishes his degree and competes to how we know he can,” said LCCC rodeo coach Seth Glause.
The LCCC men finished the season in fourth place in the CRMR standings, while the women finished in eighth place.