Recent Rodeo Wins Benefit Student Athletes
-released by OPSU Campus Communications 06-22-05
No doubt about it - of all college sports, rodeo is probably the most expensive. From purchasing and maintaining quality horses for timed events to the cash it takes to get those horses and contestants to each rodeo, the amount spent by individual student athletes is staggering. While much of that expense is borne by the student, most of them could not be successful without the scholarships and other support from the colleges they represent and the communities around them.Fortunately for Oklahoma Panhandle State University, rodeo coach Craig Latham doesn’t sit around and wait for his budget to increase. Instead, Latham and his rodeo team work hard year-round to secure outside funding sources. Events such as the annual Top Hand Auction in January, which raised over $10,000 this year, help purchase practice stock, provide scholarships, and defray a number of other expenses.One of the “easiest” ways to raise money is to win events. OPSU’s impressive five first place wins in the Central Plains region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association this year raised $3,000 in scholarships. Erica Brown’s national championship title in breakaway roping and Trell Etbauer’s national steer wrestling title plus Dusty Hausauer’s second place finish in the saddle bronc netted OPSU $4,000 in scholarship money at the College National Finals this year.Scholarships and other financial aid also encourage students to stay in school when the lure of full-time professional competition beckons. OPSU’s rodeo coach, Craig Latham, recruits student athletes every year who remain focused on finishing a bachelor’s degree in his or her chosen field. “I plan to recruit the talent to win national titles, and my goal is to make sure they have four year degrees. It’s the most important thing I teach. ‘Rodeoing’ is something you do when you’re young, but you still need to make a living when that’s over. The more education you have, the better your chances of success are,” said Latham.
Matt Hebbert and Travis Sharp both qualified for CNFR this year shortly before receiving their degrees, and Cal Peterson, Stacey Watland, Dusty Hausauer, and Erica Brown all plan to return this fall to finish their degrees even though their college rodeo days are over. “I would like to thank the whole community for supporting us. Without that support, we couldn’t have kids winning the national titles and finishing their degrees, which is our ultimate goal.”