1961 National Champion Rodeo Team

Team Members: Leon Cook, Jerry Kaufman, Jim Moore, Frank Shepperson, Al Smith, and Fred Wilson.

The only national champion men’s rodeo team in UW history, the 1961 Cowboys were all Wyoming natives. In the regional championships, Jim Moore finished fifth in bareback riding, Fred Wilson was first in bareback riding and second in saddle bronc riding, Frank Shepperson was fifth in saddle bronc riding, Jerry Kaufmann was third in ribbon roping, Al Smith finished sixth in ribbon roping, and Leon Cook was fourth in steer wrestling and fourth in saddle bronc riding. As a team, the Cowboys ranked in the top two at the Regional Championships and earned a slot in the 1961 College National Finals Rodeo. At the CNFR in Sacramento, Calif., Moore finished third in bareback riding, Wilson was fourth in saddle bronc riding, Shepperson competed in five events, Smith was second in calf roping and fourth in ribbon roping, and Cook placed in the steer wrestling, earning enough points to give Wyoming the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) team title. Wilson went on to win the NIRA bareback riding championship in 1962, and Shepperson won the NIRA steer wrestling championship in 1964. All except for Cook went on to rodeo professionally. Shepperson won the PRCA World Champion Steer Wrestler in 1975. Kaufman won the Cheyenne Frontier Days steer roping championship in 1971. Moore served as the PRCA Steer Roping Director in 1977-78. All the members of the team still live in Wyoming at least part of the year, and all have been leaders in the Wyoming ranching and livestock industry.