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May 12, 2011 7:31 am

Gill named regional champion

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NWC bareback rider the lone CNFR qualifier

Northwest College bareback rider Jordan Gill was named the 2011 Big Sky Region champion in bareback riding following the completion of college rodeo’s regular season last weekend. The Trappers concluded the season at the University of Montana.

Gill didn’t place in Missoula, Mont., for Northwest College, but that hardly mattered. The Trappers’ top rider this season had managed to amass enough points through the season’s other nine rodeos that he was still able to hold a 45-point margin of victory in the season standings over his nearest pursuer — Miles Community College’s Brendon Lemmon.

By virtue of his season victory, Gill earned the right to represent the Trappers at the 2011 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper next month. He will be Northwest College’s only representative this summer.

Clinton Griffis was the only other Trapper to finish in the top five of an individual event this season. A strong string of spring performances lifted Griffis into fifth place in the bareback standings, but wasn’t enough to overcome the gap Griffis faced when starting the second semester.

Steffani Hofrichter was the top finisher in the women’s standings, finishing the season in sixth place in goat tying.

In the final rodeo of the regular season, the Trappers placed sixth as a men’s team and fourth as a women’s team. Griffis finished second in the bareback riding for Northwest’s best finish of the day.

Seth Shelton added a fifth-place showing in steer wrestling.

On the women’s side, Jessica Ehlers placed fifth in the final breakaway roping standings in Missoula. Hofrichter also tied for fifth place in the goat tying standings.

For the season, Northwest College placed fourth out of eight teams in the Big Sky Region standings for 2010-2011. The Trappers scored 1,209 points on the year, finishing well in back of regional champion Montana State, who won the title with 4,009.5 points.

The University of Montana edged Montana, Western by 27 points as both schools finished just shy of 2,500 points.

In men’s competition, Montana State won the Big Sky Region title with 6,196 points, more than 1,000 points ahead of Miles Community College. The Trappers were fifth out of 10 schools with a score of 2,807 points on the year.

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