South Dakota State University rodeo team ranks 5th in U.S., advances to national finals | TSLN.com
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South Dakota State University rodeo team ranks 5th in U.S., advances to national finals

BROOKINGS, SD – Currently ranked fifth in the nation, the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Men’s Rodeo team wrapped up a successful season by winning the final collegiate rodeo in Dickinson, ND, April 30. They lead the Great Plains Region by 1,000 points. The Women’s Rodeo team placed third in the region.

Getting ranked took patience, persistence and some internal conversations. “Stay back, lift and spur” was the recurrent phrase that ran through Bryan Boyle’s head as he waited for the chute gate to open and an eight-second ride to begin.

“When I first started, ‘don’t die,’ went through my head a lot,” said Boyle, a junior animal science major from Correctionville, IA. “Today, I’m used to riding in rodeos. My nerves have calmed down.”

A saddle bronc rider, Boyle is one of 10 members of the South Dakota State University Men’s Rodeo Team who recently qualified for the upcoming College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, WY, June 12-18.

“This has been a winning year for the men’s team,” said Ron Skovly, SDSU Men’s and Women’s Rodeo Team coach. “They’ve placed at every rodeo – not an easy accomplishment for the Great Plains Region.”

Skovly said this year’s results are opposite of what they were last year when the SDSU Women’s Team was ranked number-one and the SDSU Men’s Team struggled.

“It’s good that both teams have seen success,” Skovly said.

But success in the rodeo arena begins long before the athletes compete, according to Skovly.

“They can’t show up at the college level and succeed without years of practice,” said Skovly, who has coached the team since 2009. “It starts in 4-H and Little Britches rodeos with their moms and dads hauling them to rodeos and investing in horses, saddles and trailers.”

For barrel racer Cally Thomas, a sophomore agricultural business major, it began when she rode her first horse as a toddler on her family’s ranch near Harrold, SD.

“My grandpa Harry was on the SDSU rodeo team in the 1960s. He is the one who got me and my three cousins into rodeo when were young,” said Thomas, who qualified for the CNFR for the second year in a row during the Dickinson rodeo.

Like many rodeo athletes, Thomas balances her time between studying, practicing and training her barrel horses, Bugeta and Flash.

“Nothing is given to these athletes,” said Skovly. “They are the only team in the region that does not have a dedicated practice facility, so they set up an outdoor arena in the fall and set up a make-shift arena indoors at the Swiftel Center in the spring. They put a lot of extra effort into being a part of this team.”

BROOKINGS, SD – Currently ranked fifth in the nation, the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Men’s Rodeo team wrapped up a successful season by winning the final collegiate rodeo in Dickinson, ND, April 30. They lead the Great Plains Region by 1,000 points. The Women’s Rodeo team placed third in the region.

Getting ranked took patience, persistence and some internal conversations. “Stay back, lift and spur” was the recurrent phrase that ran through Bryan Boyle’s head as he waited for the chute gate to open and an eight-second ride to begin.

“When I first started, ‘don’t die,’ went through my head a lot,” said Boyle, a junior animal science major from Correctionville, IA. “Today, I’m used to riding in rodeos. My nerves have calmed down.”

A saddle bronc rider, Boyle is one of 10 members of the South Dakota State University Men’s Rodeo Team who recently qualified for the upcoming College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, WY, June 12-18.

“This has been a winning year for the men’s team,” said Ron Skovly, SDSU Men’s and Women’s Rodeo Team coach. “They’ve placed at every rodeo – not an easy accomplishment for the Great Plains Region.”

Skovly said this year’s results are opposite of what they were last year when the SDSU Women’s Team was ranked number-one and the SDSU Men’s Team struggled.

“It’s good that both teams have seen success,” Skovly said.

But success in the rodeo arena begins long before the athletes compete, according to Skovly.

“They can’t show up at the college level and succeed without years of practice,” said Skovly, who has coached the team since 2009. “It starts in 4-H and Little Britches rodeos with their moms and dads hauling them to rodeos and investing in horses, saddles and trailers.”

For barrel racer Cally Thomas, a sophomore agricultural business major, it began when she rode her first horse as a toddler on her family’s ranch near Harrold, SD.

“My grandpa Harry was on the SDSU rodeo team in the 1960s. He is the one who got me and my three cousins into rodeo when were young,” said Thomas, who qualified for the CNFR for the second year in a row during the Dickinson rodeo.

Like many rodeo athletes, Thomas balances her time between studying, practicing and training her barrel horses, Bugeta and Flash.

“Nothing is given to these athletes,” said Skovly. “They are the only team in the region that does not have a dedicated practice facility, so they set up an outdoor arena in the fall and set up a make-shift arena indoors at the Swiftel Center in the spring. They put a lot of extra effort into being a part of this team.”

BROOKINGS, SD – Currently ranked fifth in the nation, the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Men’s Rodeo team wrapped up a successful season by winning the final collegiate rodeo in Dickinson, ND, April 30. They lead the Great Plains Region by 1,000 points. The Women’s Rodeo team placed third in the region.

Getting ranked took patience, persistence and some internal conversations. “Stay back, lift and spur” was the recurrent phrase that ran through Bryan Boyle’s head as he waited for the chute gate to open and an eight-second ride to begin.

“When I first started, ‘don’t die,’ went through my head a lot,” said Boyle, a junior animal science major from Correctionville, IA. “Today, I’m used to riding in rodeos. My nerves have calmed down.”

A saddle bronc rider, Boyle is one of 10 members of the South Dakota State University Men’s Rodeo Team who recently qualified for the upcoming College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, WY, June 12-18.

“This has been a winning year for the men’s team,” said Ron Skovly, SDSU Men’s and Women’s Rodeo Team coach. “They’ve placed at every rodeo – not an easy accomplishment for the Great Plains Region.”

Skovly said this year’s results are opposite of what they were last year when the SDSU Women’s Team was ranked number-one and the SDSU Men’s Team struggled.

“It’s good that both teams have seen success,” Skovly said.

But success in the rodeo arena begins long before the athletes compete, according to Skovly.

“They can’t show up at the college level and succeed without years of practice,” said Skovly, who has coached the team since 2009. “It starts in 4-H and Little Britches rodeos with their moms and dads hauling them to rodeos and investing in horses, saddles and trailers.”

For barrel racer Cally Thomas, a sophomore agricultural business major, it began when she rode her first horse as a toddler on her family’s ranch near Harrold, SD.

“My grandpa Harry was on the SDSU rodeo team in the 1960s. He is the one who got me and my three cousins into rodeo when were young,” said Thomas, who qualified for the CNFR for the second year in a row during the Dickinson rodeo.

Like many rodeo athletes, Thomas balances her time between studying, practicing and training her barrel horses, Bugeta and Flash.

“Nothing is given to these athletes,” said Skovly. “They are the only team in the region that does not have a dedicated practice facility, so they set up an outdoor arena in the fall and set up a make-shift arena indoors at the Swiftel Center in the spring. They put a lot of extra effort into being a part of this team.”


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