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University of Wyoming Honors Women’s Rodeo Team
story by Sharon Adams
Back in 1991, Shanna Newland, Toni Christinck, and Lori Rhodes walked out onto the University of Wyoming football field to receive bouquets of roses and the applause of their fellow students. They were the Women’s Team Champions at the College National Finals Rodeo. They made that same walk again this year.
The 1991 Women’s Rodeo Team from the University of Wyoming was inducted into the UW Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, September 7, 2017. This team won the National Championship Women’s Rodeo Team title at Bozeman, Montana in June of 1991. A unique feature of this team was that all three women grew up on ranches in Wyoming and attended college in their home state. The team members were: Shanna Newland Howell now living in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, Toni Christinck Olson now living in Mud Butte, South Dakota and Lori Rhodes Shepard now residing in Canyon City, Colorado.
At the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Finals, Shanna won the first go round in the Breakaway Roping and qualified as one of the top ten finalists in the Goat Tying. Lori won the Goat Tying Championship. Toni won one go round in the Goat Tying and was a top ten finalist in both the Goat Tying and Barrel Racing.
Coaching this championship team were the late Pete Burns and Danny Dunlevy of Laramie. Lori Shephard wrote “It was a great experience to rodeo for UW. They were very successful in those years with their men’s and women’s teams. Pete and Danny took good care of us and made sure we had all we needed to practice and succeed.”
Lori and Ty Shepard have two, sons, a real estate business in Canyon City, Colorado, and team rope when they can find the time. Toni Olson is a busy ranch wife near Mud Butte and raising a family.. Shanna and Guy Howell have four daughters, two going to college in Gillette, Wyoming. Shanna taught school since graduating and now contracts the mail route from Belle Fourche through Wyoming to Alzada, Montana.
Thanks to Bill Laycock, former rodeo club advisor at UW and member of the NIRA Alumni Board of Directors for sharing this announcement.