ALVA, Okla. – Emmett Edler may have arrived at Northwestern Oklahoma State University as the little brother of an alumnus who is also the reigning ProRodeo world champion steer wrestler, but he’s already making a name for himself.
Edler, a freshman on the Northwestern rodeo team, placed in both rounds to finish third in the bulldogging aggregate at the opening rodeo of the 2021-22 Central Plains Region season in Colby, Kansas. He stopped the clock in 4.7 seconds to finish fifth in the first go-round, then was 4.4 to share the short-round victory.
“It was a pretty cool experience,” said Edler, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound 19-year-old from State Center, Iowa. “It was definitely what I was wanting for my first college rodeo. It’s anybody’s game if I can keep my head level and go out there and do what I’ve been practicing for.
“I drew good steers and did the best I could on them.”
That was certainly part of his advantage, but he had others, including the horses he rode in northwest Kansas. In the opening round, he rode a horse trained by his brother that just happens to share the same name, Jacob. In the championship round, when Jacob became a bit of trouble in the timed-event box, Edler jumped on Pearl, a horse owned by competitor Cooper Slavin of Oklahoma Panhandle State University.
“Jacob decided not to work so well, so I had to make a horse change,” Edler said. “Pearl is super automatic, and I knew that horse would get me in position to make the best run I could make.”
That happened, with teammate Tyler Scheevel hazing. Of course, it helps that Edler followed in the footsteps of his brother, Jacob Edler, who was the reserve national champion steer wrestler for the Rangers in 2016, the same year the older Edler’s teammate, J.D. Struxness, won the college title.
“I really wanted to get better in bulldogging, and if I wanted to do that, then Northwestern is the place to be,” Emmett Edler said. “(Coach) Stockton (Graves) is here to sharpen you up and perfect anything you’re unsure about. We’ve got plenty of good, strong steers here and guys willing to come to practice and help everybody out.”
Edler wasn’t the only Ranger to find success in Colby. Fellow bulldogger Isaiah Naauao from Haiku, Hawaii, advanced to the championship round, where his 5.6-second run was worth a fifth-place finish. Tie-down roper Brandon Hittle of Topeka, Kansas, finished third in the short round and the aggregate, while fellow calf roper Kade Chace of Cherokee, Oklahoma, placed fourth in the first go-round.
Edler, though, knew the thing he brought to the table upon his arrival in Alva this fall was being as consistent as possible through each run. It all comes from a solid foundation and an old-school work ethic he gained from living on the family farm in Iowa.
“Farming made a huge impact on me,” he said. “Working on the farm, we worked long days, and you’re expected to work right along side everyone else; you better be working harder than the guy next to you. That’s the same way I approach bulldogging.”