“There are 591 entries from 27 colleges entered in the 58th annual K-State Rodeo.”
Doug Muller, K-State Rodeo Team coach, announced, “We’ll have four performances Friday through Sunday, Feb. 21-22-23, at Weber Arena on the north end of Manhattan’s Kansas State University campus.”
Sponsored by the 40-member strong K-State Rodeo Club, rodeo action kicks off at 7:30 Friday evening, which has been designated as a Tough Enough To Wear Pink performance, in order to benefit cancer awareness and research.
The Saturday matinee starts at 1 o’clock, and has been designated as Kid’s Day, with children getting in free by bringing one non-perishable food item for the Flint Hills Breadbasket.
A KSU Rodeo Queen Pageant, led by 2013 K-State Rodeo Queen Lindy Singular and her court, starts the Saturday evening performance at 6:45.
From the first three performances, the ten contestants in each of the nine college events, sanctioned by the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA), will compete in the Sunday afternoon short go-round finals at 1 o’clock.
“Sunday will be Military Appreciation Day with complimentary rodeo tickets for those serving in the military, and sharp ticket price discounts for their family members,” Muller pointed out.
Again, livestock for the college-age cowboys and cowgirls representing the Central Plains Region of Kansas and Oklahoma will be competing on professional rodeo livestock provided by Dell Hall’s Rafter H Rodeo Livestock Company of Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Scott Grover, also a professional rodeo announcer and K-State alumni, will be in a return engagement calling the western action.
Several additional attractions are planned in conjunction with the rodeo, according to Muller.
A Rodeo Kick-Off Party is set Wednesday evening, Feb. 19, featuring a concert by Aaron Watson, with special guest Cody Johnson, at RC McGraw’s in Manhattan.
On Thursday evening, Feb. 20, a jackpot team roping benefitting the KSU Rodeo Club, and open to all college rodeo contestants, is planned by Cindy Brown’s JC Rodeo Livestock at the Hatcher Indoor Arena, north of Strong City.
Rodeo dances are also again scheduled at RC McGraw’s following both the Friday and Saturday evening performances
Because there are so many contestants, some of the slack, especially in barrel racing and breakaway roping, is be on Friday and Saturday mornings. “We have 112 contestants in barrels, 110 in breakaway and 98 teams in team roping. There are 82 entries in calf roping,” Muller said.
Of course, highlight of the K-State Rodeo action will be cheering on the home team, and Coach Muller indicated, “It’s a strong team this year.
“Nineteen cowboys and cowgirls who are fulltime students at Kansas State University have their NIRA cards and most of them are expected to see action at their home rodeo,” Muller stated.
“Tanner Brunner is for sure the bright spot on our team now, setting fourth in the region in steer wrestling after the first three rodeos last fall. Our rodeo is the first one in the region this spring, and Tanner has the talent to make it to the National College Rodeo Finals this year. Just one tough, hard luck run kept him out of the finals last year,” Muller credited.
Brunner, a senior in animal science from Ramona, serves as the boy’s team captain, and also competes in calf roping and team roping, as a heeler.
Others on the boy’s team are Linden Steuve, Olpe, team roping heeler; Seth Bredemeier, Colby, team roping header; Colton Lowry, Almena, header; Mark Peterson, Garden City, header; Austin Jackman, Baldwin City, heeler; Ty Larson, White City, header; Tee Gehrt, Manhattan, header; Richie Ridihalgh, Tonganoxie, heeler; and Kris Wittman, Council Grove, bull rider.
Sage Henderson, senior in animal science from Alliance, Nebraska, serves as the girl’s team captain, and competes in barrel races.
Other cowgirls on the K-State Rodeo Team include Shelby Leonhard, Oskaloosa, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying; Sara Nutsch, Muscotah, barrel racing; Mikhayla DeMott, Rio, Illinois, barrel racing; Katelyn Eike, Chatham, Illinois, barrel racing; and Casey Adams, Junction City, breakaway roping and team roping header.