ALVA, Okla. – Sierra Schott and Starz are getting to know one another a little bit better.
The two – a barrel racer at Northwestern Oklahoma State University and her 9-year-old bay mare – just teamed this past October, and it’s taken some time for the tandem to gel. They proved it is happening this past weekend at the Southwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo in Weatherford.
“I was just going out there to have fun,” said Schott, who rounded the cloverleaf pattern in 17.13 seconds to finish in a tie for third place in the opening go-round; they then posted the fastest run of the rodeo to win the championship round with a 16.80 and had the second-fastest two-run cumulative time. “I knew she was running well right now, so I told myself that I was just going to have fun; she did all the hard work.”
It helped the McLaughlin, South Dakota, cowgirl to 140 points, which moved her into a tie for 12th in the Central Plains Region standings. She’s still within range of finishing among the top three in the circuit if she and Starz perform well at the final two rodeos of the season.
The teamwork between racehorse and jockey became more evident the week before, when they finished eighth in Garden City, Kansas. They just stepped it up a bit in Weatherford.
“I’ve been trying to get to know her, and she’s been trying to get to know me,” Schott said. “She’s been helping me build my confidence in her, so I just gave Starz her head, and she did really well.”
By giving the mare her head, Schott was not reining the horse as hard through the pattern, allowing Starz the chance to run more freely.
“Weatherford was a big, outdoor pen, and she’s good with those,” she said “The next two rodeos we go to are outdoor pens. I’m pretty confident with her, so I’ll just go with whatever happens from here.”
Moving from her previous mount to the bay speedster proved to be an adjustment for the South Dakota cowgirl, but it proved to be the right kind of modification.
“Right away, what I noticed is that she’s got the heart for what she wants to do,” Schott said. “When you get on some horses, they don’t want to run, but she wants to run. She has a big heart, and it shows when she runs.”
Schott led the way for the Rangers women, while the men were led by tie-down roper Denton Oestman of Auburn, Nebraska; He used a dominating, 8.8-second run to win the championship round and to finish second overall. Steer wrestler Emmett Edler of State Center, Iowa, finished fifth in the first go-round.
Team roping header Stran Morris of Woodward, Oklahoma, finished second in the long round, fourth in the short round and third overall while roping with Jordan Lovins of Western Oklahoma State College. The Northwestern team of Wyatt Vanorsdol of Bristow, Oklahoma, and Jayden Laubhan of Follett, Texas, finished fifth in the short round and sixth overall.
That pushed Laubhaun into a tie for third place in the heeling standings as the teams head into the final two rodeos of the 2021-22 Central Plains season. The Rangers will compete this next weekend in Hays, Kansas, then follow that a week later in Guymon, Oklahoma.
Each contestant had a reason to utilize Northwestern for its college education. For some, the decision comes down to the positives they find. Alva can be a pretty nice home for many, and they realize it.
“I had known a couple of friends that came to school here that I rodeoed with,” Schott said. “Cedar Anderson said I should just check it out. I was originally looking at the University of Wyoming, but I came down here anyway. I liked the weather, and I got a bit of a scholarship opportunity. I looked at the science department, and I liked it.
“Now, I’ve been here all three years, and I like being here.”