South Dakota State University Rodeo Team seniors reflect before graduation |

South Dakota State University Rodeo Team seniors reflect before graduation

South Dakota State University Rodeo Team Seniors include, top row from left, Savanna Glause, Braelee Aus, Hope Petry, Dani Aus, Annaliese Favorite.Bottom row: Rodeo Club Advisor and SDSU Animal Science Department Head Dr. Joe Cassady, Ryan Knutson, Pearson Wientjes, Trey Richter, Matt Nelson, Jake Stark, and Rodeo Team Coach Ron Skovly. Photo courtesy SDSU Rodeo Team

BROOKINGS, S.D. — On the eve of the 2017 Jackrabbit Stampede Rodeo, 10 graduating senior members of the South Dakota State University Rodeo Team will be recognized as part of the seventh annual Buckles and Bling Fundraiser, Thursday, April 6, at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, S.D.

The Jackrabbit Stampede Rodeo will take place at 7 p.m. April 7, and at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 8, at the Swiftel Center.

SDSU Rodeo Team Coach Ron Skovly said, “This is a very strong group of seniors that have a combined six College National Finals Rodeo qualifications. We will miss them next year for sure.”

The senior Rodeo Team members share some thoughts about their experiences below.

Ryan Knutson

Knutson is a Range Science major from Toronto, S.D. He competes in bull riding on the SDSU Rodeo Team. Knutson’s favorite part of being on the team has been meeting friends and getting to travel with them. The best experience so far was making college finals short round his sophomore year. Overall, the main thing he says he has learned from being on the team is how to be consistent and keep the same approach. After graduation, he says is going to miss practices and travelling with his friends the most.

Pearson Wientjes

Wientjes competes in calf roping and team roping, but notes that team roping is his favorite because it is something his dad taught him. From Mound City, S.D., he is double majoring in Agricultural Business and Economics. His favorite part of being a on the SDSU Rodeo Team is the friends he has made and the places he has been able to visit. The main lesson he says he has learned from rodeo is that a person can never be too mentally prepared. After graduation, he will most miss the opportunity to represent SDSU in something he loves.

Jacob Stark

Stark is a Business Economics major from Oakland, Minn. He competes in bull riding on the Rodeo Team. His favorite memory was getting left behind in Valentine, Neb., at a gas station when the coach left with the other rough stock members of the team. He says one of the main things he has learned while being on the Rodeo Team is that a lot of mental preparation is involved in rodeo competition. He reflects that he will miss his team members.

Danielle Aus

A Sociology major from Granite Falls, Minn., Aus competes in breakaway roping and goat tying on the rodeo team. Goat tying is her favorite event. Aus’ favorite part of being on the team is being a part of a competitive girls’ team. Through her years of college rodeo, she has learned that teamwork is everything and nothing would be accomplished without the team joining together. When she graduates, she will miss her rodeo family the most.

Trey Richter

From Quinn, S.D., Richter is pursuing a degree in Agricultural Business while competing in calf roping and team roping on the rodeo team. His favorite event is team roping because his dad and brothers also team rope so it is something that they could do together. Richter has most enjoyed all the people he has met during his career in college rodeo. Coming into college as a freshman, he didn’t know many people, and rodeo helped him connect with people right away. His best memory was winning the region as a freshman. “One thing college rodeo has taught me is that you have to take the successes with the failures, because anything can happen in rodeo,” he says. Richter notes that he tries to keep a positive mindset no matter the outcome.

Matt Nelson

Nelson is an Agriculture Science major from Colman, S.D. He competes in calf roping and team roping. To Nelson, the best part of college rodeo has been the friends he has developed. Some of his favorite memories were made going on long road trips with his best friends. He states that in his experience in the rodeo world, everyone is a big family. “Although everyone is competing against each other, many people are still willing to jump in and help one another,” he says. The part of college rodeo that he will miss most is being around all his friends at practice every day. He says he is a competitive person, so he enjoys the aspect of having a bunch of teammates there having competitions during practice which help everyone improve.

Savanna Glaus

Glaus competes in team roping and breakaway roping. From Chamberlain, S.D., she is pursuing a degree in Animal Science. Her favorite part of being on the team is travelling to different places while competing and meeting new people along the way. One thing she has learned is how to manage her time wisely while balancing college and rodeo. The aspect of college rodeo that she will miss most is seeing all of her Rodeo Team friends on a daily basis.

Hope Petry

Petry is an Animal Science major from Hudson, Iowa. She competes in barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying on the team. Practicing with her friends and teammates every day is Petry’s favorite part of being on the rodeo team. Her best memory was winning the region in breakaway roping and competing at the College National Finals Rodeo for two years. “Practice takes up a lot of time and we miss some school, so learning good time management skills has been a big takeaway from being on the team for me,” she says. Petry will miss seeing her Rodeo Team friends.

Braelee Aus

Aus competes in breakaway roping and goat tying. She is a Sociology major from Granite Falls, Minn. Aus’ favorite memory from college rodeo is winning the breakaway roping competition at the 2016 Jackrabbit Stampede. From being on the Rodeo Team she has learned many lessons, but says the biggest lesson is that teamwork pays off. She reflects, “It is important to win rodeos, but without the team, practices wouldn’t even be possible. The part I will miss most about college rodeo is seeing and spending time with my teammates.”

Annaliese Favorite

Favorite is an Animal Science major from Eagan, Minn. She competes in barrel racing. Participating in the Jackrabbit Stampede has been a highlight of her Rodeo Team experience. One of her best memories was visiting Sioux Valley Elementary School in Volga, S.D. last year and telling students about rodeo. The elementary students were also able to try out different rodeo events. “One thing I have learned is that South Dakota weather doesn’t care if there is a rodeo coming up, so going to practice and keeping horses in shape is important even when it’s cold,” she says. When she’s done with the team, she is going to miss both the people on her team, and travelling with them.

SDSU Rodeo Team

The SDSU Rodeo Club was established in 1952. Though Rodeo Team members are part of the club, not all club members are competing members of the Rodeo Team. The Rodeo Club helps set up and take down equipment for practices and provides behind-the-scenes support for the Jackrabbit Stampede.

The SDSU Rodeo Team has 45 competing members who compete in 9 rodeos in addition to the Jackrabbit Stampede each year. More than 1,200 SDSU alumni have been Rodeo Club and Rodeo Team members since the Club began. Members of the 2016-17 Rodeo Team are from Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Florida, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Learn more about the SDSU Rodeo Team by contacting Ron Skovly, SDSU Rodeo Coach, for more information at 605-690-1359, or email F

–SDSU Extension

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