ALVA, Okla. – The Northwestern Oklahoma State University women’s rodeo team has continued on its hot streak to start the Central Plains Region season.
In the opening two events of the 2014-15 campaign, the Rangers have two outright victories, earning the titles at the Cherokee Rodeo hosted by NWOSU three week ago and the Pratt (Kan.) Community College Rodeo this past weekend.
“The women’s team is doing really well, and I’m real proud of them,” said Stockton Graves, the program’s coach. “We haven’t blown anybody out yet, but we’ve got the victories. The whole women’s deal is pretty fun watching. We dang sure have some good girls, and it’s going to be exciting this season. There are two or three teams that are sure stacked up.”
That’s true. The Northwestern women lead the region standings with 650 points, just 35 points ahead of runner-up Garden City (Kan.) Community College.
A key, Graves said, is that the fall schedule of four rodeos places the Rangers at events that are all close to home. In addition to Cherokee (a 22-mile drive), Pratt is just an hour north of Alva, while the Oklahoma State University Rodeo this coming weekend is just two hours southeast in Stillwater. The final event of the season, the Northwestern Rodeo, will take place Oct. 30-Nov. 1.
“We’ve been able to keep everybody home and drive back and forth,” he said. “We don’t have to stay out there and camp out. They can keep their horses at home. It’s really nice having them this close.”
It’s working quite well. Several Rangers qualified for the championship round in Pratt, with steer wrestler Grayson Allred winning his discipline and Michael Edgmon placing fourth, based on results posted by the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
Other men who placed at Pratt were tie-down roper Hayden Pearce, heeler Dustin Searcy and headers Dalton Richards and Layne Harold. The men finished the team standings fourth in Pratt, while the women edged Garden City by just five points.
“It’s a tough region, especially in the men’s division,” Graves said. “Being more of a timed-event school, we’re just going to have to have all six guys on the team to do well to be competitive. That’s hard to do. It can be done, and we’ve done it before.
“The difference between the timed and the roughstock events are the numbers of competitors.”
There are a lot more wrestlers and ropers at the collegiate level than those cowboys who ride bucking bulls and horses. With more contestants, it’s tougher for timed-eventers to make the final round.
“The men did better, and we had three bulldoggers make the short round,” Graves said.
The women’s contestants have just three events in which they compete: barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat-tying. Four Rangers placed in Pratt, with goat-tiers Lauren Barnes (second), Shayna Miller (third) and Elli Price (sixth) placing; barrel racer Kylee Cahoy also placed.
“We’ve got a good set of goat-tiers this year and have for a little while,” Graves said. “This women’s team is dang tough all the way around.
“I don’t really stress the all-around standings or the team stuff. I just say to do good in your individual events and let the all-around and team stuff fall into place; that’s all just a bonus for us.”
As long as they keep winning, the bonuses will continue to come.