The UVU Rodeo Team hosts their sole “home game” of the spring season this weekend in Heber, giving fans and newbies alike a chance to watch top-ranked UVU athletes compete in one of the final rodeos of the season.
The three-day rodeo at the Wasatch County Special Events Center in Heber will be the second-to-last rodeo for Wolverine competitors to qualify for the National Collegiate Rodeo Championships, and coach Shane Draper says that his teams are in a good spot to earn a trip to Nationals in June.
The women’s team presently holds second place in the Rocky Mountain region and only 70 points separate the UVU team from third and fourth place competition. “It’s pretty tight,” Draper said, emphasizing that the women are hitting their peak performances at the right time.
Hilary Bair rode to the women’s all-around top title two weeks ago in Ogden, and teammates Tori Thacker and freshman Jade Lyons improve with each rodeo, Draper said. Barrel racer Riley Spiker could have a breakout weekend if she can leave the barrels standing, he added.
The men’s team is healthy and strong after recovering from their injuries at the St. George Rodeo three weeks ago. The men’s team has five individual competitors that are already qualified for nationals — regional leaders Connor Kent and Colton Bair in the bareback event, Taylor White in bronco riding, top regional steer-wrestler Jake Woolstenhulme and fellow wrestler Baylor Roche. White is also in a good position to earn a national berth in bull riding.
The men’s team is presently in third place, only 40 points out of second. Only the top two teams from the region will go on to the national finals rodeo in Casper, Wyoming in June. In-state competitor Weber State sits between UVU and a national berth, but Draper is optimistic that the next two weekends will afford the men the chances they need to move into second.
“This Heber rodeo will have a lot of good, rough stock and that gives our riders their best chances,” Draper explained. Broken Heart Stock Company is supplying the horses and bulls for the Heber rodeo. Their animals have been used in the pro rodeo circuits and the famous National Finals Rodeo (NFR) events, and Draper says that good stock translates into good rides – and good scores. He noted that his ropers and riders are coming on strong in practice and he expects three solid days from all members on both teams.
Wasatch County Special Events Center, Heber
Thursday 26th 7pm
Friday 27th 7pm
Saturday 28th 5 pm