May 21, 2003 11:00 pm

ELKO, Nev. — It was a tough time in Elko for the two Mount-aineer cowboys and lone cowgirl at this year's NIRA College Rodeo Champ-ionship series shoot-out, but in the end, a twist of fate befell George Gillespie, allowing him to advance to next month's College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo.

Gillespie, Eastern Oregon's only finals rodeo qualifier last season, did not score on his two rides.

In fact, on his second time out during the saddle bronc event, Gillespie ended up twisting his shoulder and was transported to a local hospital where he was checked out and released.

However, Gillespie later found out that one of the two automatic regional qualifiers to the finals rodeo from the Northwest Region was unable to attend the CRCS, therefore forfeiting his spot at the finals to the third place cowboy in the region — Gillespie.

Eastern's Katie Garijo carded times of 8.8 and 9.0 seconds in her two attempts in the goat tying event, but it was not enough to place her in the top seven to advance to next month's finals rodeo.

Her combined score of 17.8 placed her 17th overall.

Lee Felder was unable to stay on his two draws in the saddle bronc event and ended up with no score.