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Aggie and Lady Aggie Sports
Scott Puryear, Sports Information Director
Oklahoma Panhandle State University
P.O. Box 430, Goodwell, OK 73939
580-349-1340 scottp@opsu.edu

 

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Craig Latham, of Oklahoma Panhandle State University, coaches one of the most successful college rodeo programs in the country. - Campus Communications Photo

**For Immediate Release**
Latham Strives for Success
- by Scott Puryear of Aggie Sports on 10/5/05

Goodwell, OK - The very first item in the OPSU Rodeo Handbook states, “The most important goal as a rodeo athlete is to be a successful student at Oklahoma Panhandle State University.”

Anyone acquainted with the OPSU coach, Craig Latham, knows that rodeo is serious business at the school and the student athletes on the men’s and women’s teams are expected to strive for success in the same way that Latham does.

Latham spent 15 years on the professional rodeo circuit before taking the reins of his alma mater’s program four years ago. Rich in tradition, the OPSU rodeo program began in the late 1960’s (under “Doc” Gardner) and flourishes today under Latham’s watchful and experienced eye.

Though soft-spoken, the still athletic Latham was a fierce competitor during his successful professional career. Fifteen years is an extremely long tenure in any professional sport, let alone one as physically demanding as rodeo.

Latham was highly respected during his days on the pro circuit and today, he is one of the most esteemed college rodeo coaches in the entire country. He still has the competitive fire and he passes it along to the young people on the Aggie and Lady Aggie teams. He is also a firm believer that the student athletes under his guidance tend to business in the classroom and they are very aware that their coach pays as much attention to their grades and class attendance as he does their rodeo endeavors.

Oklahoma Panhandle State has won the National Collegiate Championship four of the last eight years and is well on the way to being known as a dynasty.

The OPSU team competes in only one rodeo in the local area every year and many times travels great distances to participate. However, fans can get a good look at the team during October at the Doc Gardner Arena near the OPSU campus. Every Tuesday, the student athletes will be involved in “Jackpot” competitions that are open to the public. They begin at 4:30 in the afternoon, weather permitting

There will also be a special competition at their arena on Wednesday, October 12.

The OPSU program competes with and beats teams from many schools much larger than their own. Each year Latham manages to recruit several of the top prospects in the country to be a part of that program, and many of these student athletes could have competed for schools like Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech or the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. They come to OPSU because of the tradition of the rodeo program, and they come because of the quality and atmosphere of the school and they come because of the camaraderie of the team members.

They also come to OPSU because of Craig Latham.

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