ALVA, Okla. – When Cameron Fox decided to further his education at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, he did so to become a better steer wrestler.
He’s not only a student in the classroom but also a student of the game, and he’s taking all his lessons to heart. This past weekend, he put all that work to use by winning the bulldogging championship at the Southeastern Oklahoma State University rodeo in Durant.
“I drew two good steers and tried to use them the best I could,” said Fox, 22, of Tulsa, Oklahoma. “I was able to make two good runs, and it was a pretty good weekend for me.”
Yes, it was. With it, he moves into a tie for the Central Plains Region lead and gave the Rangers a spark they needed early in the season. Fox won the first go-round with a 4.2-second run, then stopped the clock in 4.4 seconds to finish third in the championship round.
He had the fastest time in the aggregate by just one-tenth of a second over teammate Trisyn Kalawaia of Waiakea, Hawaii, who posted the fastest run in the weekend, in 3.6 seconds, to win the short go-round. Teammate Kaden Greenfield of Lakeview, Oregon, was second in the final round with a 4.0-second run; he finished fourth overall. Another Northwestern bulldogger, Isaiah Naauao of Haiku, Hawaii, finished third in the long round but didn’t place in the final standings.
“I’ve only been steer wrestling for two years,” said Fox, who transferred from Connors State College. “Going to school here has been helping my bulldogging a lot more and helped me progress through the steps I need.”
Much of that falls on rodeo coach Stockton Graves, a Northwestern alumnus who has qualified for the National Finals Rodeo eight times. Alva is known as being the Bulldogging Capital of College Rodeo, and having four steer wrestlers earn points in Durant is proof.
“I want to go pro after I’m done, and I knew Stockton could help me a lot,” Fox said. “He’s helped me with finishing and being a lot more patient, feeling steers a lot more. I’m really learning by breaking down my runs and focusing how I take each step through the process.”
Technique is important, but so is athleticism. Fox played football at McLain High School in Tulsa, then he opted to try his hand in rodeo. It’s been a good transition. After his horse suffered an injury, Fox opted to ride a Spongebob, a horse owned by a friend.
“I rode him at Harrison, Arkansas, at a rodeo last week, and he felt really good, so I just decided to stay on him,” Fox said.
While he had the most success at the Southeastern rodeo, there were others who earned points for the Rangers. Team roping heeler Sage Bader of Kim, Colorado, placed third in the short round and fourth overall while roping with Caden Remington of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. In tie-down roping, Kade Chase of Cherokee, Oklahoma, posted a 9.7-second run to finish third in the long round, while Denton Oestman of Auburn, Nebraska, was 10.0 to finish fourth in the opening round.
The key to success is finding consistency through repetition. That’s been the case for Fox, who leans on his coach and teammates to improve. “They all help to push you to make you want to be as good as they are,” he said of fellow bulldoggers. “Between Stockton and everyone else, they’re helping me progress at it.”