ALVA, Okla. – When Lindy Munsell first stepped onto the Northwestern Oklahoma State University campus, her big brother had just begun attending the school.
She was 14 years old. Eight years later, she prepares for her graduation and life outside of Alva, where she’s earning a degree in health and sports science with a minor in biology. She’s hoping to further her education in radiology technology while finding a way to continue competing.
Munsell has done that all her life. Raised near Arnett in extreme western Oklahoma, she followed big brother Hunter and big sister Taylor to Northwestern, and rodeo is a big reason for them all to find their ways to Alva. This past weekend, Lindy Munsell put the finishing touches to her intercollegiate career by winning the breakaway roping title at the Oklahoma Panhandle State University rodeo in Guymon.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better way to end it,” said Munsell, who won both the championship round and the aggregate titles. “I’ve been having some tough luck this year, so I made a horse change for the last four rodeos. I made the short round three of the last four, so it definitely made a difference.”
She leaned on Shorty, an 11-year-old gelding owned by her boyfriend, Colt Cunningham; he used the buckskin as a heel horse, but the mount became crucial to Munsell’s success.
“I started practicing with him two months ago, and within a month, he was ready to start hauling,” she said of the transition to breakaway roping.
It’s important to have an equine partner contestants trust. Any advantage can help in events that are timed in tenths of a second.
“In the Central Plains Region, no matter what event it is, there’s going to be some really tough competition,” she said. “You’re going to have to compete well, and at Guymon, all the calves were walking fresh. The start was big. You couldn’t judge the start based on what everybody else was doing.”
That’s because the calves had never been run through the chute system. One may take off on a dead sprint, while the next may walk out of the chute. Leaving the timed-event box before the animal gets an adequate head start results in a 10-second penalty. That’s where Munsell’s patience and trust in Shorty came into play.
“Scoring was probably the biggest part of me winning, because in the short round, I think there were three of us that had a clean time. A lot of others were having trouble with the start.”
The Northwestern steer wrestlers found great success in Guymon, led by Kaden Greenfield of Lakeview, Oregon. Greenfield finished in a tie for third place in the opening round, then won the championship round to dominate the overall title. With it, he secured his second straight Central Plains Region title.
Tevin Cowan of Harrold, South Dakota, placed second in the short round and second overall. Jeremy Plourde of Carleton, Michigan placed in both rounds and finished sixth, while Trisyn Kalawaia of Kalawaia, Hawaii, placed fifth in the opening round.
Team roping header Horacio Holguin of Meade, Kansas, placed fourth in the short round and fourth overall while roping with Marley Berger of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. The Northwestern tandem of Emmett Edler of State Center, Iowa and Wyatt Montross of Williamsburg, Iowa, earned a spot in the short round by finishing sixth in the opener. Kerry Duvall of Farmington, California, won the first round of tie-down roping with a 10.4-second run but was saddled with a no-time in the final round.
It was the final event of the 10-rodeo, Central Plains season. Greenfield and tie-down roper Denton Oestman of Auburn, Nebraska, have secured bids to the College National Finals Rodeo in their respective events. For Munsell, the last hurrah was an ideal end to her college rodeo experience.
“I have a lot of pride going to school in Alva,” Munsell said. “It’s so easy, because there’s so much support and family in this area already, and I have so many people I know. I never made trips to Alva until Hunter and Taylor started school. Since I was 14, Alva was like a second home.
“Now, it’s just home.”