Colleges gearing up for rodeo season
Area colleges are gearing up for the spring rodeo season with regular practices scheduled throughout the region. Gillette (WY) College announced a successful fundraising event recently with continued support from the community and college alike. Over 300 people turned out to support the rodeo team and to dine, dance and socialize.
“We had a great turn out again this year,” said rodeo coach Will LaDuke. “There was a live auction and many area businesses and people donated time, items and money for us this year.”
LaDuke was pleased to announce the fact that they will be working on building a new practice facility near the college. Twenty acres of land was donated to the college by Craig and Debbie Mader, Bob and Diane Sieveke, and Dave Ebertz of Western Skyline Properties.
Mader, a former Campbell County Commissioner and well-known rodeo athlete himself, was happy the group could help and feels strongly about the college and it’s growing rodeo team.
“It is a way for us to support the college and also a means of economic development,” Mader said. “Having a college in town keeps the community young but it’s hard to keep a college thriving without athletics. Gillette is making a go of it and I believe they will continue to expand.”
The facility will be close to the school and provide the athletes a place to practice any time, regardless of weather. The goal is to have the arena finished by the summer of 2010. Although Gillette College’s rodeo team is only two years old, they are among the most fierce competitors in college rodeo today with top hands from throughout the area vying to attend school there and rodeo.
“It will be a huge benefit to our team and enable us to practice year around,” LaDuke said. “So many people from the community have helped us along the way and we appreciate them all so much.”
Black Hills State University is gearing up for their spring rodeo to be held April 23rd and 24th at Seven Down Arena east of Spearfish, SD.
“We just got started practicing again,” said coach Glen Lammers. “Things are going well. These young athletes are working very hard and it’s been a great start for us. We plan to keep raising the bar and moving up.”
Lammers, former rodeo coach for National American University, moved to Spearfish last spring and has high hopes for his young team. An asset to any team, Lammers is excited to be back in the coaching saddle and says he’s happy to be a part of the community.
The team’s major fundraiser “Cowboys and Candlelight” will be held the Saturday night of the rodeo this year which should bring in added participation. The event will take place at the Spearfish Holiday Inn and Convention Center and includes a meal, auction, dance and other fundraising activities.
“The community has been very supportive of our team,” Lammers said. “The college has also really stepped up and helped us succeed. The administration is very progressive which really helps.”
It’s safe to say 2009 will be an exciting year for college rodeo. Watch Tri-State Livestock News for continued coverage.