ALTUS, Okla. – Haven Meged knew attending Western Oklahoma State College would be a benefit to his rodeo career.
Early October in Miles City, Mont., typically features cold weather. The winter can be long and brutal, so Meged knew being in southwestern Oklahoma would offer plenty of opportunities to hone his roping skills. He proved it this past weekend by dominating the tie-down roping at the Oklahoma State University rodeo in Stillwater.
“Winning that rodeo helps out a lot, because it gets you to where you want to be at the end of the year, the college finals,” said Meged, a sophomore tie-down and team roper. “It just keeps the ball rolling, and you realize you have a chance to make it. You just keep pecking away at each rodeo.”
Stillwater was the third of 10 rodeos in the Central Plains Region, and it was a big experience for WOSC ropers. Not only did Meged claim the title, but Colton Kofoed of Evanston, Wyo., finished as the runner up. They were joined in the championship round by Shane Smith and J.T. Adamson, the latter of whom finished fifth in the opening round but failed to mark a score in the finale.
“There was about a foot of mud in the arena when I ran my first calf, but I had a really good calf,” Kofoed said. “I just made a solid run and tried not to make any mistakes.”
It worked. He finished third in the opening round, then handled a big, tough calf in the short round to finish in a tie for fourth in the round. His two-run cumulative time of 21.7 seconds gave the Wyoming cowboy the runner-up finish.
“It was really big for our guy’s team, because Haven and I finished first and second,” Kofoed said. “I’d really like to see us take all three calf ropers to the college finals.”
In college rodeo, the top two teams in the region advance to the College National Finals Rodeo, which will take place next June in Casper, Wyo. The top three contestants in the region standings also qualify.
The men weren’t the only ropers to find success in Stillwater. Makayla Mack won the first round in breakaway roping, then suffered a no-time in the final round. Still it was a solid showing for WOSC.
“I had a really good calf, and my horse was working good and scoring solid,” said Mack of Christmas, Fla. “I was able to use a great calf. It was a little sticky, and the weather was a pretty big influence on the weekend.
“Missing my calf in the short round was very frustrating, because I had a good calf. I didn’t rope to my full potential. I just didn’t rope aggressive like I should.”
It’s all a learning experience, even for the greatest ropers in the sport. For Western Oklahoma State, coach Jess Tierney and his assistant, Jace Crabb, are the guiding forces.
“Jace just told us to go out there and rope sharp and take care of business,” Meged said. “What Jess does with us is helps us get mentally strong in the practice pen.”
“I’ve learned more from Jess in the first few weeks of school than I learned from anybody else in my life,” he said. “He breaks you down on what you’re doing, then he builds you up. He doesn’t try to change your roping style like a lot of coaches, but he wants to make your style better. He pushes us and makes us match each week. It’s a really fun environment.”
That’s a vital part of the sport. Yes, the competition is always there, but cowboys and cowgirls have a true passion for the game, and that’s always the driving force. But having fun and having the opportunities to compete are valuable, too.
“This school has probably one of the best facilities I’ve ever seen at a college rodeo, and I visited a lot of schools,” Kofoed said. “From the facilities to the rodeo program, it’s the best I’ve seen.”
That says a lot about the future of rodeo at WOSC.