ALVA, Okla. – In just a few days in mid-February, Northwestern Oklahoma State University senior Jaden Trimble went from nowhere to somewhere in the Central Plains Region’s heading standings.
That’s how fast things can change when fortune is on one’s side in team roping. While competing with Cale Morris of Western Oklahoma State College, Trimble earned second-place finishes in both go-rounds and won the overall title at the Kansas State University rodeo in Manhattan, Kansas.
“We needed it real bad,” said Trimble of Coffeyville, Kansas. “We didn’t win anything this last semester; it was rough. Winning that rodeo was a great way to start off the spring semester, and I hope it started ta roll. It’s something to build momentum on.”
Yes, it is. Trimble and Morris stopped the clock in 6.3 seconds to finish second in the opening round, then were second with a 7.0 in the short round. Those combined runs gave them the shot in the arm they needed, filled with 160 points apiece. Trimble is tied for seventh in the region’s heading standings, and that gives him a chance at some big things in over the next two months.
The K-State rodeo is a milestone event. Not only is it the first event of the spring semester every year, but it also marks the halfway point of the 10-event season. It takes place inside Weber Arena on the agriculture school’s campus, and it provides a unique setting for the college competitors from across the region.
“That’s a pretty cool experience,” Trimble said. “It’s a really small building with a lot of seating. They fit a lot of people in there and it’s really loud, and that makes it a lot of fun.”
It’s also a tight fit for the team ropers. Trimble and other headers will rope the horns, then turn their horses left and drive toward a fence that is in close proximity. That puts a lot of pressure on the heelers to stop the clock in a timely fashion without incurring any penalties.
“Cale did a wonderful job,” Trimble said of his partner. “That’s the kind of steers we hadn’t had a lot of luck roping this year, and I would say his job is harder. When it really counted, he had to take a tough shot a lot of people aren’t willing to take.”
It paid off and put the Ranger in solid position with five events left on the campaign. Like all contestants in all events, Trimble would love to finish the regular season among the top 3 in the region standings and secure his first bid to the College National Finals Rodeo.
“To do that, we’re going to need to place at a few more rodeos,” he said. “I’d just like five more of those (championship) buckles after this. I don’t want to be greedy, but I’d sure be fine with that.
“If we just keep our heads down, do our thing and take care of what we need to, the rest is going to fall into place.”
While Trimble had the most success of all members of the Northwestern rodeo team, he was joined by tie-down ropers Ben Jackson of Hudson Hope, British Columbia, who placed in the short round and finished third overall, and Denton Oestmann of Auburn, Nebraska, who placed in the long round and finished sixth. Steer wrestler Cameron Fox of Tulsa, Oklahoma, placed fourth in the final round and fifth overall, while Grady Aasby of Highmore, South Dakota, placed in both rounds and finished sixth.
For the women, breakaway roper Jentri Hulbert of Arcadia, Nebraska, finished third in the opening round, while barrel racer Julianna Sprague of Kincaid, Kansas, placed in both rounds and ended up sixth overall. Goat-tier Laci Geiger of Emmett, Idaho, finished fifth in both the short round and the aggregate, while Morgan Poust of Hughesville, Pennsylvania, was sixth in the final round and the average.
Now at the halfway point of the regional campaign, the Northwestern rodeo teams understand where they stand and what it will take to earn the right to compete at the college finals.
“I would love to make the college finals,” Trimble said. “It has been a goal of mine for a long time, but I’m just trying to take it one steer at a time. The points are going to work out at the end as long as I do my job. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. If I’m looking at the points every day, all I’m going to do is fret about it more.
“I want to take it steer for steer and let the rest play out. That gives me the best shot at winning.”