Jun 21, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe runner-up national finish by the Rustler women was the highest ever at the CNFR by either a women's team or men's team from CWC.
Rick and Lynn Smith will always remember the 2012 College National Finals Rodeo as their final one at Central Wyoming College.
The husband-and-wife coaching tandem guided CWC to a second-place finish Saturday night in the women's team standings to an end era at the Riverton campus. The Smiths are going to coach rodeo next season at Cochise College in Arizona.
The runner-up national finish was the highest ever at the CNFR by either a women's team or a men's team from CWC. The 2011 CWC women's squad finish seventh in the nation.
"I spent 17 years of my life building the program," CWC rodeo coach Rick Smith said. "With the help of Lynn and a lot of student athletes, I had a vision for it, and I stuck with it."
CWC vice-president for academic services Jason Wood said their is a buzz around the campus on what the Rustlers accomplished last week in Casper.
"It was phenomenal what our women's team did," Wood said. "They have so many reasons to be proud. They represented the college and the community very well. I couldn't be more excited for them."
Wood, who heads the job search for the new rodeo coach at CWC, wants to announce the two or three finalists for the position by the end of the month.
"We are trying to move it along," Wood said. "I think that we going to have three finalists that are going to be impressive," Wood said.
Smith called Lacey Tech the fastest goat-tying cowgirl he had ever seen before the CNFR started.
he was right on.
Tech produced times of 6.7, 6.8, 6.3 and 6.6 for a total of 26.4 in winning the national championship,
The 6.3 in the third go put Tech as the leader heading into the championship finals.
"We have had some ups and downs at the CNFR, but Lacey was the only one that we had back in the finals. She won it in style. We are all proud of her," Smith said.
The CWC women scored 335 points for second place, the position hey held for most of the week.
"We were close," Smith said. "We had our opportunities. Some things happened that didn't go our way, but at the same time we had a great effort."
CWC rodeo captain and senior cowgirl Traci Hinman said the finish by the Rustlers was a great way to end her career.
"That means a lot to us," said Hinman. "We have worked really hard together as team the last two years. To end on that note is pretty special."
Texas Tech University won the national team championship, rolling up 423.33 points.
"It's huge deal to place that high against all these other schools because we are just a junior college, and they are a huge university," Hinman said.
"We have four of the finest young people that you could ever be associated with," Smith said. "I will always remember them and be proud to have been a part of this."
Tech and Hinman were the two leaders for the last four years for CWC.
Tech is planning to go back to Fairfax, S.D... to start her pro rodeo career.
Hinman wants to continue to live in Riverton and work with the CWC women program.
"Traci and Lacey are two of the best that CWC will produce in any sport," Smith said. "They let their actions speak for them. They set examples for all the young people that come in."
Devin Nicholls was 16th in breakaway roping. Walker placed 28th in goat tying.
"Devin and Jacalyn are the same kind of people," Smith said. "They do their best, but they are the first to congratulate the other one."
Nicholls has signed a national letter of intent to rodeo at Tarleton State University in Texas. Walker will be on the rodeo team next fall at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.
"Devin and Jacalyn will both be competing for national championships the next two years," Smith said. "I wish I could take them with me. They will always be on our team. It doesn't matter where they go."
Stetson Jorgensen (steer wrestling), Tyler Williams (bull riding), Colton Miller (saddle bronc) and Charlie Kogianes (saddle bronc) all qualified for the CNFR.
The four didn't make it back to the finals.
"They need to work harder," Smith said. "They need to grow up a little bit, and then they will be better."
Smith said all four of the Rustlers are planning to be at CWC in the fall.
"The talent is there," Smith said.
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