The UVU rodeo team opened up their spring season with a competition at Weber State. Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

The Utah Valley University Rodeo team kicked off their spring season this past weekend, placing second in both the men’s and women’s competitions held at Weber State University.


“We had a really good weekend, both the men’s and women’s team,” head coach Shane Draper said. ”We thought we had won both but ending up placing second. If we would have had a different couple people on our points team, then we would have won.”


Returning after not competing in the fall was last year’s standout Brock Winn. Winn placed second in the nation in the saddle bronc event and did not disappoint in his first rodeo of the 2012, placing first in the men’s all-around, saddle bronc riding, and the team roping heeler. Also standing out were bull riders Corey Olsen and Taggert Elliot, who took the top two spots, respectively, as well as Ryley Johnson, who won the steer wrestling competition. The Wolverine men remain in first place overall in the Rocky Mountain Region by 644 points over the Utah State Aggies.


On the women’s side, the Wolverines placed second behind the Weber State Wildcats. Shining was UVU’s McKenzie Zollinger, who won the women’s all-around and placed second in goat tying. On the season, the UVU women trail the Weber State Wildcats by 81 points and look to improve on that in the coming rodeos.


UVU’s rodeo team has had a long history of success in collegiate rodeo and is one of the school’s oldest sports programs. The program was founded in 1968 and has included world and national champions such as Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Lewis Field and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion bull rider Wesley Silcox. The Wolverines will look to build upon their recent successes and be national contenders themselves. Draper feels UVU has a great chance at capturing the Rocky Mountain region title with a strong second half of the season.


“I am very happy with our season thus far,” Draper said. “Our men’s had been strong for years and we are just building the women’s team. Weber State women’s team has won two or three national championships, but we are right on their heels.”


UVU will next compete March 15-16 in Twin Falls, Idaho before they return to Utah to ride in the Rocky Mountain Regional rodeo at the end of the month.


By Travis Leavitt
Sports Writer