There’s a lot going on this spring at Fort Hays State University in western Kansas.
The school’s rodeo club is celebrating its 60th anniversary in style, introducing its inaugural class for induction into the Fort Hays State University Rodeo Hall of Fame during the college’s rodeo weekend, Thursday, April 20-Sunday, April 23.
A reception, set for 3-6 p.m. Saturday, April 22, will honor Doug Philip, Neil Barstow and Bronc Rumford at the Schenk Building on the Ellis County Fairgrounds. The induction ceremony will take place at 7 p.m., followed by the Saturday night rodeo performance at the Ellis County Fairgrounds.
“Establishment of the Rodeo Hall of Fame is a long-term way to recognize individuals who have had a significant impact on the program and/or the business of rodeo,” said Marcy Aycock, a member of the rodeo club’s advisory board.
Philip was instrumental in establishing the rodeo club, providing resources to build the original bleachers and bucking chutes at the FHSU rodeo grounds. The rodeo arena bears his name as a tribute. Barstow is a 1970 Fort Hays State graduate helped building the rodeo program. He was a member of the 1969 Central Plains Region championship team. With his wife, Belinda, he founded Barstow Rodeo Equipment.
Rumford is a 1974 graduate and, like the other two, was a stalwart rodeo cowboy. He remained close to FHSU over the years, serving as an assistant coach, then taking on the head-coaching duties for 15 years. He also remains influential in professional rodeo and this past December was awarded the PRCA’s Donita Barnes Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Fort Hays State Rodeo is the ninth of 10 Central Plains Region events. The regional season will conclude on the final weekend of April, and the top three athletes in the standings in each event will then advance to the College National Finals Rodeo.
Hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls from the region made up primarily of rodeo teams in Kansas and Oklahoma will converge on Hays that weekend to chase the points necessary to win the circuit titles or at least advance to the intercollegiate championship, which will take place in Casper, Wyoming, in June.
It’s a major boon to Ellis County and Fort Hays State to have the program’s rodeo be such a springtime spectacular.