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WYOMING COWBOY MOVES UP

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Wyoming cowboy Kelly Wardell, out of Moorcroft, will travel to some 125 rodeos this year. It's the first time in his six years as a professional cowboy that he's been able to do anywhere near that many, but he got himself a sponsor, and that gave him license to chase every cowboy's dream - a berth in the National Finals Rodeo.

He's not there yet. Not by a ways. A cowboy must be among the top 15 moneywinners in North America for the year to make it. But Wardell recently moved into the top 20. Best he's ever done for a season before was in the top 30.And Saturday night in the Delta Center, the final night for the eight-performance Days of '47 Rodeo, Wardell took a mighty step toward moving up even higher.

Wardell rode a bareback bronc named Chances Are to a 78 score, best of the night and second-best for the whole rodeo. "He's really a good horse, one I've been on before - the kind you want to draw. He jumps and kicks," said Wardell.

Wardell said he hoped to make a little over $2,000 for placing second in the average. Was he ever surprised when he got into the rodeo office a couple events later and found a check for $3,279.57 with his name on it.

Mark Garrett, who scored 80 several nights earlier, won the average and $3,992.52.

Wardell's traveling partner, Clint Corey of Kennewick, Wash., took second for the night with 76 and won $712.95.

Meanwhile, Ogden's Kyle Kosoff roped his calf in 9.2 seconds for the second straight night and finished with 18.4 seconds on two head to win the rodeo average and $1,744.06. Together with a fourth-place finish in the first go-round, he took home $2,285.

Kosoff wasn't around to find out his numbers. He's another cowboy having his best year, at age 30, and he was a busy man Saturday.

The Days of '47 Rodeo started at 6 p.m. Saturday, and right after his ride, Kosoff was headed for Ogden's Pioneer Days Rodeo, and by this morning, he was off to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. He was in Spanish Fork Friday night.

Because the Days of '47 Rodeo started early on its final night, the barrel racing had to be re-routed. The man bringing the electric-eye timer wasn't in time for the event, so team penning had to be run first while the barrel racers waited.

Mary Bonogofsky of Carson, N.D., didn't mind waiting. She was timed in 13.53 - .2 faster than Susie Seppala of Gillette, Wyo., to win the night's event. Bonogofsky placed8 third in the average won by Lanita Powers of Guthrie, Okla.

Saturday's other nightly winners were Chris and Dave Green of Valley Springs, Calif., in 5.0 seconds; Rod Hay of Alberta, Canada, in saddlebronc at 78; Chad Bedell of South Jordan with 5.6 seconds in steer wrestling; and Aaron Semas of Auburn, Calif., in bull riding at 86.

RODEO NOTE - Karl Malone celebrated his 30th birthday by watching the rodeo with his wife Kay and daughter Kadee-Lyn.