ALVA, Okla. – For several years, Pacman was the perfect horse for Kody Woodward.
Now, Pacman is doing the same for another member of the family, Brent Woodward, a senior steer wrestler at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. The speedy sorrel gelding proved it again this past weekend by guiding Brent Woodward to the title at the Fort Hays (Kansas) State University Rodeo.
“This was really good for me,” said Woodward, the third member of his family from Dupree, South Dakota, to be part of the Northwestern rodeo team. “I haven’t been doing very good at these college rodeos. It should be a confidence booster to finally win one.
“I’m hoping to do good at these next two rodeos and sneak up into the third spot.”
He’s talking about the Central Plains Region standings. With rodeos in Guymon, Oklahoma, this week and Colby, Kansas, the first weekend in May, the intercollegiate athletes have just two more shots to finish among the top three in the circuit in order to advance to the College National Finals Rodeo; it takes place June 13-19 in Casper, Wyoming.
After winning the title in Hays, Woodward shot up to 13th in the region. There are plenty of points available for him to advance to the finale, but things will have to go his way. He trails the leader, teammate Riley Westhaver of High River, Alberta, by 285 points but is just 141 points away from third place. Woodward earned 130 points in Hays.
Kody is 10 years older than Brent, and Pacman was his bulldogging horse a decade ago when he was trying to make the college finals. Since then, Pacman’s been ridden by some of the best cowboys in rodeo. Now, he’s helping more college students learn the game.
“He’s a pretty solid horse, and I’ve got a good haze horse, Junior,” Brent Woodward said of the horses he uses as a team. “Bradley Ralph has been my hazer, and he always does a good job of getting the steers lined out for me.
“Kody (trained) both those horses. That’s more of what my brother does. He picks them out, and we start on them and make runs on them.”
That type of training has worked. Woodward led the way for the Rangers in Hays, but there were others who overcame the snow and colder conditions to gather points. Heeler Bo Yaussi of Udall, Kansas, placed in both rounds and finished fourth overall while roping with Garrett Elmore of Western Oklahoma State College.
Header Zane Thompson of Cheyenne, Wyoming – roping with Zach Woods of Western Oklahoma – earned points in the first round by placing in a tie for sixth place with the Northwestern tandem of Taylor Carson and Cale Koppitz, both of Alva; both teams stopped the clock in 9.7 seconds. Tie-down roper Tucker Huffman of Mutual, Oklahoma, picked up a third-place finish in the opening round as well.
Breakaway roper Hannah Zimmers of Eureka, Kansas, led the way for the Northwestern women. She placed in both rounds and finished third overall.