By Chaney Latham
Oklahoma Panhandle State University
WEATHERFORD, Okla. – The Oklahoma Panhandle State University rodeo teams continue to gain momentum heading into the final stretch of the Central Plains Region season.
The Panhandle State men took some major strides during the 40th annual Southwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo last weekend, winning the team title and collecting the all-around championship with Joe Frost collecting big points in bareback riding, bull riding and steer wrestling, qualifying for the final round in all three events. .
“I was excited about the effort given from all our kids,” said Craig Latham, the university’s rodeo coach.
Frost also competes in tie-down roping and team roping.
“It was fun,” Frost said. “Having Craig back really helped.”
Latham had been away from the team a big portion of the spring season while undergoing medical treatments; the rodeo in Weatherford was his first since returning home earlier this month.
“I could tell he was happy to be back, and he motivated me. I just knew I had to make the best runs I possibly could, and give 110 percent.”
Latham was quite happy with what he saw in the young Utah cowboy.
“He just had flat determination,” Latham said.
Frost tied for second in the two-ride aggregate in bareback riding with 124 points, a 60 in the first round and a 64 in the short round. He also shared second place in the steer wrestling with times of 6.4 seconds and 5.2. He was one of just two cowboys to make the qualifying eight-second ride in bull riding in both rounds, finishing with 133; he had a 76 in the long round.
Josh Griggs qualified for the final round in the bareback riding and bull riding. He scored a 68 in the first round of the bareback and a 65 in the bull riding to earn him a few points in each event. Jeff Bertus also competed in the championship round of the bull riding, after earning a 64 point score in the first round.
In the saddle bronc riding, four of the eight cowboys in the championship round wore Panhandle State vests. Panhandle cowboys Kole Wynia, Whit Peterson, Allen Boore, and Preston Kafka ended up in second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes, respectively. Along with Frost, Dusty Moore and Dixon Winn also qualified for the short round in steer wrestling. Only five cowboys managed to throw their steers in the championship round, with Winn finishing second with a two-run cumulative time of 14.1 seconds – he had a 6.2-second run in the first go and a 7.9 in the final round.
As for the women’s events, Samantha Martinez finished second in the first round of breakaway roping with a 3.6-second run. She was fast in the short round with a 2.2, but a broken barrier resulted in a 10-second penalty.
The wind seemed to play a major factor in the timed events with only two women catching in the final round, and Martinez earned second place even with the penalty. Junior Callie Schafer also competed in the championship round in breakaway roping and goat tying. She tied for fourth place in goat tying with a 16.7-second two-run aggregate.
After competing this coming weekend at Fort Hays (Kan.) State University, the Panhandle State teams will wrap the 2011-12 season by hosting the Doc Gardner Memorial Rodeo at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena from April 26-28.
“If we finish strong, we can still reach the goals we started out with,” Frost said.
Those goals are important, but so finishing strong is also the team’s main plan of attack.
The plan is the “same as it is every time, and that is to win,” Latham said.