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NMSU women's rodeo team ranked first in the nation

The New Mexico State University women's rodeo team is ranked first nationally by the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association after winning a rodeo last Friday and Saturday at Navajo Technical College in Crownpoint, N.M.

The NMSU men's rodeo team is ranked fourth nationally after placing first in last weekend's event with a score of 1075 points, nearly twice the score of the second place team.

NMSU's Chad Steele, of Alamo, Nev., was named all-around cowboy at the event and Bailey Gow, of Roseburg, Ore., was named women's all-around champion.

Jim Brown, coach of the rodeo teams, called the national ranking a "nice surprise."

This most recent victory marks the fifth straight win for the NMSU women's rodeo team and the third win for the men's team this semester. Gow has been named women's all-around champion three times in the past five rodeos NMSU has participated in, and has earned a ranking of second place nationally in the women's all-around standings.

"We had a fantastic weekend. The men's team has a good 1,300 point lead over Cochise College in the regional standings, which we should be able to maintain to win. It's safe to say that the women's team has won the 2006-07 regionals, there's no possible way the competition could catch up," Brown said.

Gow was the overall winner of the breakaway roping event at Crownpoint and her teammate Jonna Bizzell, of Los Lunas, N.M., placed third.

Gow also placed first overall in barrel racing, closely tailed by teammates Shanna Headstream, of Santa Fe, N.M., and Brittany Streigel, of Aztec, N.M., who came in second and third, respectively.

Bizzell won first place overall in the goat tying event, and Megan Corey, of Bremerton, Wash., placed a solid third. Bizzell and Corey are both ranked in the top five nationally in this event.

"We really swept the calf roping," said Brown, citing the fact that NMSU athletes occupied four of the top six spots. Santa Fe, N.M., native Clay Acuna earned the top spot as overall tie-down roper and Casey Felton, of Fallon, Nev., placed third. Acuna is ranked third nationally in the event.

Chad Steele managed a modest fourth place in the first round steer wrestling, but came back in the short go to earn second place overall.

NMSU also swept the team roping event, taking five of the top six spots. Chance Means, of Cliff, N.M., and Matt Garza, of Mesquite, N.M., won first place overall and JoDan Mirabal, of Grants, N.M., and partner Aaron Shelley, of Gila, N.M., were the second place team.

Ranked second in the Grand Canyon Region, Tanner Crofts, of Orderville, Utah, won the bareback event. His teammate Clay Geronimo, of Mescalero, N.M., placed third.

Dean Daly, of Belen N.M., won first place overall in the saddle bronc event, and Crofts placed third. Daly is the fifth ranked saddle bronc rider in the nation.

All-around cowboy Chad Steele tied for first place overall in the bull riding event, and his twin brother Tony came in third.

The NMSU rodeo teams will compete next in Tsaile, Ariz., at an event sponsored by Dine College April 21.

The following week, NMSU will host a rodeo in an arena the team will set up across from Aggie Memorial Stadium.