College Rodeo Enthusiasts Have ‘Cool’ Facilities And Opportunities At K-State

“Very cool.”

It may not sound like cowboy or Western-way-of life terminology. Yet, that’s the way the K-State Rodeo Club president repeatedly described activities of the revived-and-energetic college campus group.

Unquestionably, enthusiastic is the attitude of Julia Kaufman in her third term as leader of the 50-plus member group involving participants from nearly every curriculum of the Manhattan university.

A full-fledged cowgirl in her own right, competing successfully in barrel racing at rodeos and jackpots throughout the Midwest, Kaufman is an elementary education major from Fairway, Kansas.

“I think it’s very cool how the rodeo club has developed and progressed over the past couple of years,” Kaufman emphasized.

Although the organization dates back to the late 1940’s and has been involved with National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association almost since inception with team members competing in college-sanctioned events nearly every year from the start, there has been resurgence of effort most recently.

Initially called the Chaps Club, name was changed to the K-State Rodeo Club in the mid-1970s to better reflect its purpose to dedication and development of the sport of rodeo.

“It’s really cool the new facilities we have now at the Equestrian Center conveniently located right on the north edge of our main campus,” Kaufman pointed out.

“We have a practice arena with both timed event and rough stock facilities. There are 21 runs with portable stalls at the Equine Education Center. So, team members have the arena close-by for practice every day if they desire,” added Kaufman, noting that livestock is readily available for timed-event practice.

“It’s so cool all of the support we’ve had in developing these facilities from the K-State Animal Science Department and K-State Rodeo Club Advisory Council. We really appreciate all of the work everybody has done,” Kaufman credited.

Ken Odde is head of the animal science department, and Clarke Jackman is chairman of the advisory board. “It’s cool how they’ve worked to find funding and collect donations for building this great center,” Kaufman added again.

Beth McQuad of the veterinarian medicine faculty on campus serves as advisor of the rodeo club, and Doug Muller, the high school vocational agriculture instructor, is the rodeo team coach.

“They are such a cool pair to help our organization,” Kaufman recognized.

Presently 16 members of the K-State Rodeo Club are on the traveling squad of the K-State Rodeo Team.

“It’s very cool that all of our club members, even those who aren’t of the caliber and financial status to go to all of the college rodeos, work together to support everything we do,” Kaufman emphasized.

Several club members have provided steers and calves for time-event practice. “The club pays for the cattle feed, and we are looking into leasing rough stock for team practice in the spring,” Kaufman said.

Of course, the upcoming 56th annual Kansas State University Rodeo is on a front-burner for the group at this time.  “We are expecting more than 500 contestants from 23 colleges in the Central Plains Region of the NIRA for the four performances, February 17-18-19, at Weber Arena,” Kaufman announced.

However, before that, Kaufman is emphatic in explaining: “We are so excited about the K-State Rodeo Club sponsoring a Championship Bull Riding competition at Weber on Friday, Jan. 27, at 7:30 p.m.”

A total of 35 contestants including several champions are expected to compete in the long go-round, with the top-ten coming back for the short-go.

“Brad Vogele, the 2010 CBR Contractor Of The Year, from Arkansas City, will bring his outstanding bulls for this premier competition,” Kaufman said. “I think it’s so cool to have such top bulls and cowboys to kick-off an event such as this.”

Already, the portable woven-wire fencing has been placed inside the concrete-walled indoor Weber facility, and bucking chutes standby ready to be installed. “We will have both left- and right-hand chutes this year to improve the quality of the performance by both the bulls and the contestants,” Kaufman revealed.

“It’s so cool that some of the same bulls that Brad takes to the CBR finals will be bucking right here in Manhattan,” Kaufman detailed.

Several of the contestants for the bull riding contest intend to arrive a day early. “It is so cool that they’ll be at RC McGraw’s on Tuttle Creek Boulevard Thursday evening to visit and sign autographs,” said Kaufman.

A dance is planned at the same location Friday following the bull riding event.

Dell Hall of Rafter H Rodeo Livestock Company, a Professional Rodeo Cowboys  Association-contractor from Tahlequah, Oklahoma, will supply livestock for the NIRA rodeo.

“He’ll also have some of the livestock here that he took to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas,” Kaufman related.

Performances are set for 7:30 Friday and Saturday evenings, with the Saturday afternoon long-go performance and the short-go matinee Sunday both beginning at 1 o’clock.

“Friday is Tough Enough To Wear Pink day, and Saturday afternoon will be Kid’s Days. Of course, Saturday night always draws the largest crowd.

There’ll be rodeo dances Friday and Saturday nights at RC McGraw’s.

Always a highlight of the rodeo is the K-State Rodeo Queen Pageant being coordinated this time by incumbent Queen Brande Iseman, who has represented the sport and university at dozens of rodeos and public activities throughout the past year.

“We really appreciate all of the work that Brande has done for our club, and the queen contest this year will be the climax of her efforts,” said Kaufman, noting that queen candidates will be introduced at each performance.

“The rodeo always draws more than 10,000 people to Manhattan. Right after football and basketball, our rodeo is the largest single attraction to the community,” Kaufman revealed.

Two of the K-State teams’ top contestants this year, according to Kaufman, are J.D. Holland of Bucyrus in team roping, and Blair Askew of Goodard in barrel racing. “They’ve placed at several fall college rodeos, and are in the national college standings at the present time.

“They’ll be competing at our rodeo along with all of our other team members, who keep practicing and improving all of the time thanks to our great facilities, livestock availability and so much training, coaching and cooperation from so many people,” Kaufman said.

It was noted that there are 10 rodeos this competition-year in the region, which includes Kansas and Oklahoma. Four rodeos were last fall, and the K-State Rodeo is the first one scheduled during the second semester.

Kaufman listed several K-State Rodeo Club Alumni who have achieved considerable rodeo success following their college careers: Arden Vernon, bull riding, bareback riding and steer wrestling; Tom Williams, bull riding; Franchone (Dearmond) Myers, barrel racing; Dave Samsel bull riding; Justin McKee, announcer; Scott Grover, announcer; Allen Russell, steer wrestling; Doug Janke, steer wrestling; John Luthi, bareback riding and bull riding; Becky Anderson, goat tying; Rob Holland, team roping; Jody Holland barrel racing; Stacia (Wood) Scott, breakaway roping and barrel racing; Leah (Tenpenny) Wilson, goat tying; Stacey Harris, goat tying and barrel racing; Kandee (Kraft) Prieb, goat tying; Tammy Meyer, goat tying; and Randy Kraft, bareback riding.

A special invitation was extended, by Kaufman, to all alumni of the K-State Rodeo Club to attend this year’s rodeo to see the new facilities utilized by the club and team members. “We sure want them to become more involved in supporting growth and development of our new endeavors,” she welcomed.

A special Kiddie Rodeo has been scheduled for 1 p.m., on Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Manhattan Town Center Mall. “This educates children and their parents about the sport of rodeo and also is lot of fun while encouraging them to attend the rodeo itself two weeks later,” Kaufman commented.

In addition to these major events, the K-State Rodeo Club has jackpot  team roping and barrel racing competitions each fall, has hosted goat tying and bull riding schools and is planning additional events in the future, according to Kaufman

Certainly, lots of “cool stuff” are on tap for Western-action-enthusiasts thanks to college cowboys and cowgirls as members of the highly-active K-State Rodeo Club