Bull rider steps up big for Rangers

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ALVA, Okla. – Kade Stokes moved from the East Coast to the Plains to further his education and become a better bull rider.

He’s gaining ground on both lessons of his life. This past weekend, Stokes won the first round and finished second overall at the Southwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo in Weatherford. It was the biggest hit of the season for the cowboy from Landrum, South Carolina.

“The long round went pretty good, and it paid off in the average,” said Stokes, who added 110 points to his season total and moved up to a tie for seventh in the Central Plains Region standings. ”It was really big. I’d never been 82 points at a college rodeo, and to be able to do that on a Bennie Beutler bull was pretty cool.”

Only six bull riders scored in the opening round, and only one rode two bulls.

“It gives me a ton of confidence, so I can use that in the final two rodeos of the year,” he said.

The Central Plains will wrap it’s 10-event season with rodeos at Hays, Kansas, this coming weekend and at Guymon, Oklahoma, the final weekend of April. That means there are just two more chances to gather the points necessary to finish on top. Only the top two teams and the top three individuals in each event will advance to the College National Finals Rodeo, which takes place June 9-15 in Casper, Wyoming.

“We’ve got two rodeos left, so I’d like to keep scoring points,” Stokes said. “I’d like to get enough points so I don’t have to sweat about it.”

While the Rangers’ bull rider scored his first points of the season, six Northwestern steer wrestlers all added points to their season. All-around talent Jacob Haren of Callaway, Nebraska, placed in both rounds and won the aggregate title, while Kade Chace of Cherokee, Oklahoma, utilized a third-place finish in the championship round to place third overall.

Cam Fox of Tulsa placed second in the opener and fifth in the short round to finish fifth overall, and Trisyn Kalawaia of Waiakea, Hawaii, finished sixth in both rounds and the average. Emmett Edler won the first round with a 4.1, the fastest run of the weekend. Tevin Cowan of Harrold, South Dakota, was 5.1 to finish third in the opening round.

Kansas team ropers Colter Snook of Dodge City and Rhett Murray of Alma finished third in the first round after posting a 6.3-second run. Breakaway roper Ella Rauch of Herrick, Illinois, placed fifth in the first round, while goat-tier Dale Lee Forman of Ree Heights, South Dakota, and barrel racer Savannah Greenfield of Lakeview, Oregon, made the short round in their respective events.

The Rangers men finished third in the team standings and kept progressing up the standings. Meanwhile, Stokes – who transferred to Northwestern from Howard College in west Texas to study animal science before changing his major to agriculture business – has found the right frame of mind to close out his season, thanks to coach Stockton Graves.

“His mental approach is all about having the right mindset on winning,” Stokes said of his coach. “If you go in with a winning attitude, you give yourself a better chance to win.”


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