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NMSU rodeo team finishes season on top

The New Mexico State University men's and women's rodeo teams are National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Grand Canyon regional champions after an exciting year of competition.

Wyatt Althoff, of Gilbert, Ariz., finished the season as reserve men's all-around champion. Johnny Salvo, of Horse Springs, N.M., placed third in the men's all-around.

Aztec, N.M., native Kelsi Elkins was the women's all-around champion. Jordan Bassett, of Dewey, Ariz., was reserve champion and Brittany Striegel, also of Aztec, N.M., received third.

In the saddle bronc riding event, Dean Daly, of Belen, N.M., finished third, with teammate Daniel Orris, of Durango, Colo., receiving fourth.

Clay Geronimo, of Mescalero, N.M., placed second in the bareback riding.

In the bull riding, Ryan Gibson, of Casa Grande, Ariz., received fourth.
Salvo was the tie down roping regional champion. Rylan Edgmon, of Black Canyon City, Ariz., received second. Althoff and Bryce Runyan, of Silver City, N.M., received third and fourth, respectively.

Team roping header Rodee Walraven, of Datil, N.M., placed second, with Althoff placing third. Salvo also placed third as heeler.

Elkins placed second in the barrel racing event. Bassett placed fourth.

Megan Wilkerson, of Sonoita, Ariz., was the regional breakaway roping champion.

In the goat tying, Bassett, Striegel and Elkins placed second, third and fourth, respectively.

Althoff and former rodeo team member Bailey Gow, of Roseburg, Ore., were honored after the April NMSU NIRA rodeo for their achievements throughout the 2007-08 season. Althoff received the DuBois award for All-Around Cowboy, and Gow was given the DuBois award for All-Around Cowgirl. Each received an original Curtis Fort bronze sculpture.

The DuBois award is given to the NMSU rodeo athletes who have scored the most NIRA points in more than one event during the season. The awards are presented by Frank DuBois, former secretary/director of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

NMSU will send 11 of its top rodeo athletes to compete in the College National Finals Rodeo, June 14-20 in Casper, Wyo.