Kickoff of the spring run of competitions for the K-State Rodeo Team is on the home court this weekend.
It’s the annual K-State Rodeo at Weber Arena on the north end of the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan with four performances Friday, Feb. 19, through Sunday afternoon, Feb. 21, according to Casy Winn, advisor of the K-State Rodeo Club, sponsor of the competition.
“There has been lots of interest from contestants from throughout the Central Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA), and our own K-State Rodeo Team is really excited to get back into actual competition after the winter break,” said Winn, first year coach of the home team.
“We have 13 members on the team roster, and have several team members ranking high in the region, and looking to qualify for the National Finals College Rodeo. Everybody’s been practicing hard, and we’ll have several more team members who should do well this spring,” Winn predicted.
A former college rodeo contestant, Winn was third in his region in bull riding two years on the Utah State Rodeo Team, and has remained active as a team roping contestant, as well as judging rodeos and coaching his own children, all active rodeo contestants.
With his wife Wendy, Winn’s family includes Dixson, 23; Chad, 17; and Kyleigh, 13. “They’ve been competing in rodeos all of their life. Our sons’ rope and ride bulls, while our daughter rides in several events and plays basketball. We stay busy,” Winn assured.
Additionally, Winn has been a lifelong horse trainer, working with his own horses and always keeping several customer horses to start. “We go all the way in our training program, but specialize in finishing rope horses, after we get the basics done on a colt,” Winn related.
Coming to K-State to coach the rodeo team, Winn also teaches the university’s colt starting class.
Looking to the home rodeo team’s prospects, Winn said, “There were four fall college rodeos, and the K-State Rodeo is the first of six total NIRA rodeos this spring. Our women’s team is ranked sixth out of the 20 colleges region in after the fall run, and the men’s team is seventh.”
Individually, Emily Cary, first year vet student, is standing second in barrel racing; while Jerek Van Petten, senior, is fourth in the bulldogging, and team roping heading; Jamie Wolf, senior, seventh in calf roping; Casey Adams, senior, 12th breakaway; and Cassidy Hamman, senior, 14th barrel racing.
Adams is the women’s team captain, and also competes in team roping. Van Petten also ropes calves, and Wolf team ropes, too.
“We’ve had some good practice time inside Weber Arena in the time events, and also with a couple of bull riders who show some potential. Then, we’ve been outside practicing hard, when the weather permitted.
“So, I’m optimistic about the team’s abilities at our home rodeo and throughout the season. I think there’ll be several students qualify for the college finals,” Winn predicted.
First performance of the K-State Rodeo is Friday evening, Feb. 19, beginning at 7:30, and has been designated “Tough Enough To Wear Pink Night,” to increase and benefit cancer awareness.
Children under 12, accompanied by an adult ticket holder, will be admitted free to Saturday’s matinee performance, at noon, February 20, with donation of one canned food item for the Flint Hills Breadbasket.
Pretty cowgirls on parade at 6:45, will be the coronation of Miss Rodeo K-State, before the 7:30, Saturday evening, Feb. 20, performance.
Cowboy church services are set for Sunday morning at 10 o’clock, at Weber Arena, and the short go-round finals of the K-State Rodeo is at 1 o’clock.
There are advance ticket discounts, as well as lower fees for KSU students and those serving in the military.
Additional members of the K-State Rodeo Team include boys’ team captain Austin Jackman, senior, team roping; Shelby Hutchinson, senior, breakaway and team roping; Ty Larson, senior, team roping; Mary Staub, senior, barrel racing; Mikayla DeMott, junior, breakaway roping, barrel racing and team roping; Katelyn Eike, junior, breakaway roping and barrel racing; Milan Hunter, sophomore, goat tying; and Logan Hodgson, freshman, bull rider.
“My goal as the rodeo team coach is for students to come to K-State to get a quality education and also excel in rodeo,” Winn said.
“It takes practice to make winners. We’re fortunate to have the practice stock and the facilities with organized practices, and the improvement in our cowboys and cowgirls abilities is showing that,” Winn said.
“We’re likely to qualify several for the National College Rodeo Finals this year, and I’d sure like to have the top team in the region in a couple of years. We are working on offering more rodeo scholarships to help our students, and to attract more top contestants to the rodeo team,” Winn said.
Information on activities coordinated by the K-State Rodeo Club can be found at www.kstaterodeoclub.com.