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Around Our Town...Sports

Casper hosts its 7th College National Finals Rodeo

05/01/2005 - Seven years ago, folks in Casper had a dream. They wanted to bring the championship of college rodeo to their hometown, and they set off for Las Vegas to convince those who could make it happen. The rest is recent history, as they say. The College National Finals Rodeo begins its seventh run in Casper June 12-18. College rodeo has found a home.

Sarah Neely of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association says her organization's association with Casper and Wyoming has been "excellent."

"We did it the right way," she says, referring to the efforts of local committee members and college rodeo officials to establish the event. "Now, it's a matter of adding the bells and whistles that make the event better every year."

One of those bells and whistles is the second annual "Bulls and Broncs'' round planned for Sunday, June 12th at 4:00 p.m. The strictly rough stock rodeo will be the opening day for the week-long rodeo action. Slack is planned for Monday, June 13th at 7:00 a.m. and again on Tuesday, June 14th at 7:00 a.m. The nightly performances begin Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. and continue through the week with the championship round on Saturday, June 18th, also at 7:00 p.m.

"I have been to the NFR and to many big rodeos, and the CNFR is one of the two or three best rodeos anywhere," says Bill Landen, public relations director. "Fans tell us every year it's the best rodeo they have been to."

Many of the contestants - who come from 38 states and Canada - are already hot commodities on the professional circuit. And already, CNFR contestants who performed in Casper have won world championships. This includes Casper College's Kelly Timberman who is the reigning World Champion Bareback Rider.

Several additional events are planned for the college rodeo week. A kick-off community pancake breakfast is on for Saturday, June 11th at at the Casper City Park. The annual CNFR golf tournament is scheduled for Thursday, June 16th at Paradise Valley golf course in Casper. A "Special Rodeo'' is planned for Saturday, June 18th at the Casper Events Center. The special rodeo has become a tradition with the CNFR.

"We enjoy hosting the special rodeo event with the CNFR committee each year. I think it is one of the contestant's favorite events as well," said NIRA Commissioner, John Smith.

Live music has been set for every evening performance on the plaza at the Casper Events Center, as well. Church services and nightly fellowships are scheduled for Sunday, June 12 at 9:00 a.m. at the Natrona County Fairgrounds, and Saturday, June 18th at 1:00 p.m., also at the fairgrounds. The evening fellowships will be held in an outdoor tent at the Casper Events following each performance.

Tickets are on sale at the Casper Events Center box office, or by calling

l -800-442-2256, Ticket prices are $6 for general admission, $ 12 for reserved seating, and $16 for box seats, Season passes are available, also. There is a l 0% group discount off 20 or more same performance seats.

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