ALVA, Okla. – Kaden Greenfield was blunt and to the point when talking about the Northwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo this past weekend.
“We’ve got a good team this year,” said Greenfield, a senior steer wrestler from Lakeview, Oregon. “We’ve been placing right along, but it was great to win our first one, and it was our home rodeo.”
The Rangers scored 510 points to win the men’s team title at the Alva Dome, and Greenfield led the way with his first-place finish. He knocked down his first-round steer in 4.4 seconds to finish third, then was 3.9 to win the championship round and the aggregate with a two-run cumulative time of 8.3 seconds.
He was a full second faster than his teammate, Trisyn Kalawaia of Waiakea, Hawaii, who finished second. Fellow Northwestern bulldogger Trevin Cowen of Harrold, South Dakota, placed third, while Jeremy Plourde of Carleton, Michigan, finished fifth.
“It was definitely a successful weekend, and I’m pretty stoked,” said Kalawaia, who transferred to Northwestern before the start of the fall semester. “We’ve been working very hard in practice, and it shows that it’s paying off. For me, I’ve just been focused on practicing and having confidence in myself.
“It was pretty cool being part of the winning team.”
For years, steer wrestling has been the hot topic for the Rangers. Alva is recognized as the Bulldogging Capital of College Rodeo, and the Northwestern steer wrestlers proved it at the Alva Dome. Seven of the 12 men in the championship round were from the home team, and six of them earned points, including Emmett Edler of State Center, Iowa, and Cameron Fox of Tulsa, Oklahoma, both of whom placed in the opening round.
“It’s a pretty big deal to win the home rodeo,” Edler said. “We have had a lot of people doing well on the team but didn’t have the right lineup for guys to get team points. Everything lined up at Alva, and the right people did well for us to get our first team win of the year.
“I think it really represents that we are one of the strongest teams in the (Central Plains) Region and are going to continue to be.”
The points boosted the Rangers into the top five in the regional team standings, but the bulldoggers’ domination proved to be valuable for the steer wrestling standings. The top five cowboys on the list are all from Northwestern: Greenfield, Quade Potter of Stockville, Nebraska, Kalawaia, Edler and Fox.
“Everybody shows up for practice, and everybody wants to get better,” Greenfield said. “It shows at the rodeos.”
The Kansas team roping tandem of Camden Hoelting of Olpe and Austin Lampe of Dodge City put on another strong performance. They placed in the first round with a 6.7-second run, then were 5.7 to finish second in the short round and the aggregate. In all, they added 220 points to the team’s total.
“You want to put on a show for the home crowd,” Hoelting said. “It was huge, because the team wants to win that rodeo. My heeler and I wanted to do good. It helped both: It helped us win as a team, and it helped Austin and I move up the points race individually.”
Hoelting is No. 2 in the regional heading standings, and Lampe is third in heeling.
“I think a lot of us are pretty talented on this team, and it’s dang sure one of the best teams we’ve had in a while,” Lampe said. “We knew with us being on the points team that we wanted to take it pretty seriously and wanted to get the job done. Doing it at home is a pretty good place to do it.”
Northwestern header Ben Jackson of Hudson Hope, British Columbia, placed fourth in the first round while roping with Zach Dunlap of Western Oklahoma State College.
Denton Oestmann of Auburn, Nebraska, helped his own cause with a second-place finish in tie-down roping. Oestmann placed in the first round with a 10.2-second run, then was 9.1 to finish second in the final round and the aggregate. Brandon Hittle of Harveyville, Kansas, placed in both rounds and finished fifth.
“It’s been a little while since our men’s team won a rodeo,” said Oestmann, who moved up to second in the Central Plains standings. “I’m sure everybody’s pretty excited about that. I thought we had a decent team last year, but we underachieved. I think this is one of the better teams that we’ve had.”
While the men won the team title, the Rangers women got help in the form of barrel racers Samantha Chambers of Calhan, Colorado, and Julianna Sprague of Kincaid, Kansas. Chambers finished fourth in both the short round and the average, while Sprague snuck into sixth place in the aggregate without placing in either go-round. Goat-tier Laci Geiger of Emmett, Idaho, placed in both rounds and earned a sixth-place finish overall.
Northwestern proved in its final event of the fall semester that the team has the opportunity to challenge for the Central Plains Region title.
“The win at home definitely shows things are coming together and that we’re coming together as a team and pushing off each other and using the confidence we’ve gained at past rodeos,” Edler said. “We’re going to keep building on it.
“If we keep doing what we did at Alva and guys keep competing and winning, there’s no reason why Northwestern shouldn’t win the region. There’s no reason we couldn’t go on to win the national title. There’s a lot of good talent and a lot of competitiveness. There’s a lot of good to be had coming up in the spring season.”