LCCC Ranch Horse Team runner-up in national contest

Winners from the LCCC Ranch Horse Team holding their checks with their winnings.CHEYENNE, Wyoming – Laramie County Community College's Ranch Horse Team clinched the reserve champion title at the Fort Worth Stock Show's prestigious Bridles and Brains contest, showcasing their exceptional skills against the nation’s top competition. 

Unlike other shows the Ranch Horse Team competes in, the Fort Worth event put LCCC up against D1 and D2 schools. LCCC fell just short of top honors to the dominating team at Texas Tech University, losing by a tiny margin. The team won $2,250, covering the cost of the trip and contest. 

Wacey Flack, in his fourth year with the Ranch Horse Team, said the reserve champion title made an important statement that LCCC is here to compete in the 2024 season. 

“We don’t have all the same opportunities as students in Texas, but we work hard and put in time,” he said. “In this case, it paid off.” 

LCCC was invited to the Fort Worth Stock Show because it emerged as one of the top teams in the Stock Horse of Texas World Show, which took place in the fall. The team competed in six events at the Fort Worth show — four riding contests and two in the public speaking category. 

The Bridles and Brains contest included new events that required additional preparation outside of normal practice. With only three weeks to prepare, the team rallied around one another to practice and hone their skills. 

“It was definitely a mind game getting prepared,” said Britney Iacovetto, a sophomore in her second year with LCCC’s team. “But when we got there, I feel like we settled in and realized this is what we, as a team do, and we can compete with them.” 

LCCC’s team determined that consistency in all events would be its best shot at overcoming its dominating opponents, and the students executed admirably. All four of the team’s competing members caught in the ranch roping and penned in the ranch penning. The riding events also included reining and ranch trail. LCCC was also the top team in the media interview category, one of the two public speaking events. 

“We didn’t have the highest scores throughout the show, but we were in there the whole time,” said Bo Tilton, who is in her third year with the team. “We did our best, made sure we did it correctly and accurately, and that’s what in the end put us above a lot of those schools.” 

In addition to the team's success, Flack earned the Top Horse Award and was a top five finalist for the MVP award, voted upon by all contestants. 

“It was just a matter of being here and practicing every day,” he said. “Everything here at LCCC is made to set students up for success and find opportunities for advancement.” 

Freshman Kate Budge, in her first year with the team, said the success at the Fort Worth show gives LCCC momentum she expects will carry into the season. 

“It set the tone for the semester,” she said. “We’re now looking at our season, ready for nationals and ready to compete against everyone.” 

Morgan Pennington, equine instructor and Ranch Horse & Equestrian Team coach, said the experience was validating, showing the team it's on the right track. 

“It’s rewarding that these students did well because we spend so much time on these skills,” she said. 

With an exciting season filled with expectations for success ahead, the team members were quick to emphasize that the people and facilities at LCCC help make it possible for them to compete. 

“I remember being a high school student, and many are attracted to the bigger schools,” Tilton said. “But people don’t realize the opportunities you get at a smaller school, whether that’s with one-on-one time with instructors, the extracurricular activities or all the other opportunities. A school of this size can give students tools and opportunities they might not find at larger schools.” 

Go to lccc.wy.edu/AgEquine for more information about LCCC’s Ag & Equine Pathway.