ALVA, Okla. – Growing up in southwest Nebraska, Quade Potter has seen his share of success in that region of the country.
Now a junior transfer at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Potter returned as close to his old stomping grounds as he could in Colby, Kansas, and found his way back to the top. In the first Central Plains Region rodeo of the 2022-23 season, the Stockville, Nebraska, cowboy won the steer wrestling title at the Colby Community College rodeo.
“That actually helped my confidence a lot,” Potter said of the victory. “This was one of my worst summers rodeoing, so it was nice to go to the first college rodeo and win that one to get my confidence back up.
“That rodeo is about two hours from my house, so it was pretty easy for my parents and my sister to come down and watch.”
A year ago, Potter was in his second season at Mid-Plains Community College, attending classes in McCook, Nebraska, about 30 miles from his home. He advanced to the College National Finals Rodeo this past summer, then opted to make the move to Alva to further his education.
“I decided on going to school here mainly because of (rodeo coach) Stockton (Graves),” he said. “I knew this was the bulldogging school of the region. I knew getting around all these kids that really wanted to be good and really pushed themselves would help me out a lot. I just wanted to be around these kids and this atmosphere.”
It doesn’t hurt that Northwestern is known as the Bulldogging Capital of College Rodeo. Two of the school’s three rodeo national champions were steer wrestlers – J.D. Struxness in 2016 and Bridger Anderson in 2019 – and both have qualified for the NFR. So has Graves, who has earned a spot in the championship eight times, including the 2021 season.
Potter indicated that half the 12-man field in Colby’s championship round were Rangers, so the promotion is justified. In fact, three of them earned points, led by Potter, who won the first round a 4.0-second run, the fastest of the weekend. He was 5.1 to finish the short round in a tie for third with teammate Tyler Scheevel of Lester Prairie, Minnesota, and won the aggregate with a two-run cumulative time of 9.1 seconds.
Scheevel also finished in tie for third in the opening round and finished third overall, while Kaden Greenfield of Lakeview, Washington, placed in both rounds and finished fifth.
“I knew coming down here that this region was going to be way tougher with a lot more guys and a lot of the quality of guys,” Potter said. “For me, it was just going up in competition. I knew I’d have to up my game. I just wanted to be around all the guys that are really competitive.
“I knew that would help me take another step.”
He was assisted in his success in Colby by his horse, Balboa, which he’s had a little more than three years.
“There are a lot of guys in Nebraska that have ridden him,” Potter said. “It took a long time for me and him to start clicking, but once it did, it started working out really well.
“I drew a pretty good steer in the first round, and I used in really well. I didn’t have a very good steer in the short round, but I had a pretty good lead, so I had some time to spare. That helped me out, because I didn’t make that good of a run in the short round.”
It worked out just fine, but Potter wasn’t the only Ranger who had some great success in Colby. In fact, Kerry Duvall of Farmington, California, utilized a 9.3-second run, also the fastest of the rodeo, to win the short round and take the average title in tie-down roping. Jacob Haren of Erie, Colorado, finished fifth in the championship round and the aggregate, while Kade Chace of Cherokee, Oklahoma, earned a share of the first-round title.
The Kansas duo of Camden Holting of Olpe and Austin Lampe of Dodge City won the first round of team roping, placed third in the short round and finished second overall. Iowans Emmett Edler of State Center and Wyatt Montrose of Williamsburg finished fifth in the short round and fifth overall, while Isaiah Naaugo of Haiku, Hawaii, and Logan Mullin of Clay Center, Kansas, placed fourth in the long round.
The women were guided by barrel racer Samantha Chambers of Calhan, Colorado, who placed in both go-rounds and finished second in the aggregate race. Breakaway roper Jaci Traul of Fort Scott, Kansas, stopped the clock in 2.6 seconds to finish in a tie for sixth place in the opening round.
The season may have just begun, but Potter said the Rangers rodeo team is ready for business, thanks to Graves and his attention to the details.
“Knowing how much success Stockton’s had in rodeo and as a coach helps,” Potter said. “Having him every day coach us helps everyone a lot. Having a world champion like Jacob Edler and guys like that around to help us is great, too. I don’t think you’re going get any better practice than what we’ve got here.”