**For Immediate Release**
Season Finale in Durant
Men’s and Women’s Teams Both Qualify for CNFR
- released by OPSU Campus Communications 04-30-2007
by Whitney Harding
Durant, Okla. — The long drive to Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant proved to be worthwhile for the Aggies once again as they completed their last stop along the rodeo trail in the 2006-2007 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Central Plains Region season. The bright casino lights did nothing to dim the glow on the faces of the members on the Oklahoma Panhandle State University Rodeo team. Not only did both men’s and women’s teams excel this weekend, but the success they enjoyed all season gave both teams a spot at the NIRA College Finals Rodeo taking place this summer.
The Choctaw Coliseum was the site for Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s rodeo this weekend and it marked the last competition for the OPSU rodeo crew on their way to the College National Finals in Casper, Wyoming this June. Both men’s and women’s teams had successful weekends, clinching their top spots in the region.
The men’s team came in second this weekend at Durant with ten returnees to the short round. Starting off with the rough stock events, OPSU saw Brian Leddy and Logan Hodson back to the Saturday night short-go performance in the bareback riding with scores of 69 and 70 points, respectively. In the short go, the boys didn’t disappoint, riding for eight and scoring 64 (Leddy) and 72 (Hodson) point rides, placing Hodson in the average. When saddle bronc time rolled around and the horses were loaded in the chutes, the boys of OPSU were rarin’ to go. OPSU brought back five out of the ten qualifiers to the championship round. Among those qualifiers were Ryan Bestol (64), Rob McGilvray (66), Seth Schafer (66), Trell Etbauer and Shank Stephens. Shank split first in the long-go with a score of 73 points and Trell wound up third with a 72 point ride. In the short go, the men were on a roll, racking up high scores once again. Etbauer ended up first in the average with a short-go score of 79 points while Stephens came in second in the average with a 60 point ride in the short. Shafer and McGilvray also rode their short round horses coming in with scores of 72 and 63 respectively. Logan Hodson was the only OPSU team member to make it back to in the bull riding, but did the school proud when he came out second in the average, putting together a ride in the long round of 72 points.
Hodson also made it back in the steer wrestling along with fellow team member Trell Etbauer. Hodson rode away with a time of 5.4 to qualify him for the short-round, while Trell snuck in with a 5.8 second run in the long and 5.3 in the short, placing him sixth in the average. In the team roping event, OPSU saw the team of Andrew Cowan and Daniel Martin rise to the top as they placed third in the tight race for the average. Cowan and Martin turned in great times of 6.7 in the long-go and 8.7 in the short, securing their spot in the average. As for the calf ropers, only one Aggie made it back; and that was Matt Cramblet. Riding his new calf horse, Cramblet turned in a time of 11.5 seconds in the long go, but was unable to attend the short-go performance due to a trip to New Mexico for another roping.
As the weather heated up in Durant this weekend, so did the ladies of Panhandle State. Kelly Koeppen, Chancy Harrington and Lexi Honey all headed back to the short go in the goat tying event where Kelly ended up fifth in the average with times of 7.2 and 8.3 seconds. Harrington and Honey made it back with times of 8.1 and 8.4 in the long round and a 9.2 for Harrington and a no time for Honey bumped them out of the average despite their stellar performances. In the breakaway roping event, Haley Keenan was the lone OPSU women to make it back with an amazing run of 2.4 seconds in the long-round performance. Although the women may not have had their best weekend in Durant, it was still enough to keep them qualified for the CNFR.
The excitement of the weekend was topped off at the award ceremonies after the performance of the championship round where Oklahoma Panhandle State University learned that both the men’s and women’s teams had qualified for one of the most prestigious events in rodeo today - the College National Finals Rodeo.
As the last regular season stop for the competitors, Durant turned out to be another successful weekend for our Aggies, and another success for OPSU. Give your rodeo team a pat on the back, and wish them luck at the CNFR!