After a fun weekend of college rodeo in town, you always anxiously await to see it reflected in the standings. And with the final regular season rodeo next weekend, there’s certainly some added nerves.

Tie-down roper Trey Recanzone cemented his place as the No. 1 roper in the Northwest Region and teammate Wade Bruemmer, along with his team roping partner Dillon Bahem from Lewis and Clark State College, held onto the top spot in the team roping standings. In third is the CWU partnership of Riley Eres and Chance Gleave.

For CWU’s barrel racers, both Taylor Turner and Leah Miller had great weekends. Turner jumped from 13th to sixth in the standings and Miller is now ninth after being out of the top 15 a week ago.

Finally, Mother Nature proved she is a rodeo fan as the weather cooperated with just a slight breeze.

You’ve got to tip your hat to the CWU Rodeo team. It’s amazing what it does year after year. This year was without the guidance of a coach who is usually charged with teaching event-specific skills, but also helping shoulder the load of planning, preparation and fundraising.

Don’t get me wrong, members and officers of any club are expected to direct the team toward the goals of the year, but not many clubs have the expenses of rodeo clubs. And not many clubs compete against varsity squads owning more lucrative finances. I know there are other campus clubs in similar situations but let’s focus on rodeo here.

I’ll admit to not knowing specific numbers, but the Northwest Region fields teams which fund significantly more rodeo scholarships. Those teams also boast national titles to their names during the past handful of years (Blue Mountain and Walla Walla come to immediate mind). I’m certainly not saying other teams in the Northwest and beyond are on easy street. My goal here is to celebrate how competitive CWU is year after year. By my count, we’ll have at least another couple of athletes at Casper, Wyoming’s College National Finals Rodeo this June and that clearly shows that CWU possesses some great talent as well.

How do they do it? Well, the team hosts fundraisers throughout the year such as Krispy Kreme donut sales (by the way, it’s not difficult in convincing me to buy) or holiday wreaths (equally not difficult in convincing Brittany to decorate for Christmas). This past weekend’s rodeo includes the silent auction fundraiser (I was narrowly outbid for the NFR tickets and four other items, but I hope the team made money). It costs roughly $30,000 annually just in team expenses and half of that includes hosting this past weekend. That doesn’t include feed and doctoring for their animals, that doesn’t include diesel for the truck, that doesn’t include tack and supplies.

But the result is putting together an entertaining product that includes free admission for fans. The result is qualifying kids for the CNFR. The result is a rewarding experience for club members.

“It’s been challenging, it’s a learning process,” CWU roper Wade Bruemmer said on Sunday. “It’s been a lot of work. It’s taken a lot of time and effort. Roping and managing the team is definitely challenging. It’s been fun and it’s been a good time. I’m glad we get to do it and bring rodeo to the community.”

I appreciate it and I am glad to support it. I hope our community continues to support our youth, high school and college rodeo participants. You can find life lessons anywhere, but certainly don’t have to look too far to see those lessons taking shape in and around the arena.

Jon Guddat covers rodeo — from the kids to the kids at heart — with a weekly rodeo column in the Daily Record. Contact Jon with story ideas at jonguddat@yahoo.com.

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