Annual Deke Latham Memorial Bronc Riding School

Submitted by Panhandle State Rodeo on 05/17/2017

Goodwell, Okla. — There is no denying that Oklahoma Panhandle State University is the bronc riding capital of college rodeo. However, the legacy continues to grow because of the annual Deke Latham Memorial Bronc Riding School and the tremendous amount of young talent that is exposed to the Panhandle State tradition each year.

The 2017 edition of the bronc riding school, held May 11-14, was no exception with 34 students in the saddle bronc riding school, one student in the Orin Larsen bareback riding school, and two students in the Dan Etbauer pickup man school.

With over nine world championship titles, numerous National Finals Rodeo qualifications and many collegiate accolades filling the Doc Gardner Arena, there was no doubt that the level of instruction surpassed that of any other rodeo school. Instructors included Robert Etbauer, Billy Etbauer, Dan Etbauer, Cody Taton, Jake Watson, Craig Latham, Bret Franks, Tyrel Larson, Allen Boore, and Clay Elliott. In addition, the legendary Allen McCloy was close by keeping a sharp eye on all the livestock and future cowboys.

After four days of schooling in the Oklahoma heat and wind, the boys were able to put their newly acquired skills to the test during the Match Bronc Riding on Sunday afternoon. The youngest group of students put their bronc saddles on cows for a safer form of the traditional sport. Zane Korinek of Ramah, Colo. was the champion. Every year the instructors, participants, and spectators vote for the student that they feel has improved the most over the course of the four-day school. The recipient is awarded with a check for $1500 to put towards a new bronc saddle. This year’s most improved student was Zane Korinek.The saddle bronc riding was divided into three divisions with the novice, advanced, and open.

The novice title was captured by Austin Christensen of Laverne, Okla. In the advanced division, Brandon Lansford of Cotulla, Texas was the champion. The open was composed of Wrangler National Finals Qualifiers, collegiate national champions, college national finals qualifiers, Panhandle State student-athletes, and other top bronc riders. This year’s open champion was instructor and Panhandle State alumni Tyrel Larsen. Larsen spurred one of McCloy rodeos top broncs for 78 points and the win. Larsen was followed by Panhandle State team member Jake Finlay and alumni Jake Watson. Each champion received a Deke Latham Memorial bronc halter.

Three awards were also announced at the conclusion of Sunday’s event. Augustus Jones was the recipient of the Doc Gardner Memorial Scholarship, Will Carpenter received the Deke Latham Memorial Scholarship and Matt Armes received the Shorty McCloy Memorial Scholarship.

As the student-athletes leave the arena to hit the books in preparation for final exams, they would like to extend a “thank you” to the community of Texas County and all the supporters of Panhandle State Rodeo. The winning tradition is able to continue due to the overwhelming support for this program.

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