ALVA, Okla. – The Northwestern Oklahoma State University women’s rodeo team likes playing at home.
For the third straight year, the Rangers won the Northwestern rodeo, catapulted to the top of the points race with eight cowgirls qualifying for the championship round and two ladies earning outright victories. When it all added up, the Rangers finished the rodeo with 370 points, 30 ahead of the runner-up team, Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
“I think the girls really put on a good show,” said Karley Kile, the goat-tying champion from Topeka, Kan., who tied down two goats in a cumulative time of 12.8 seconds to win the title. “You also get a lot of community support, and I think that helps quite a bit. You’ll get to walk into class the day after the rodeo, and the teachers will know exactly how you did.”
Kile tied teammate Kodi Hansen of Everly, Iowa, for third place in the first round, finishing with a 6.6-second run. The championship round is what made the difference for Kile.
“In the long round, I fumbled my flank a little bit,” said Kile, who also won the goat tying title at the Colby (Kan.) Community College rodeo; she is second in the Central Plains Region standings. “Like my parents have said, you’ve got to make the short round before you can get anything. After I made the short round, I made a heck of a run and was 6.2.
“Fortunately I was able to put together two good runs, and it paid off.”
Kile was joined in the winner’s circle by fellow Kansan Micah Samples, who won the barrel racing crown with a two-run cumulative time of 29.42 seconds. Samples, of Abilene, Kan., was one of three Northwestern women racing in the final round, joined by Kelsey Fanning of Parkston, Okla., and Kylee Cahoy of Sheridan, Wyo.
Kile, too, was one of three Rangers in the short round last weekend; Hansen placed third with a cumulative time of 13.4 seconds, while Lauren Barnes of Buckeye, Ariz., placed fifth in 13.7. Other Northwestern women in the final round were breakaway ropers Taige Trent of Burrton, Kan., and Kelsey Pontius of Watsontown, Pa.
So which victory was bigger: Kile’s goat-tying win or the team victory?
“They’re both big, because it was the first time this year that we beat Southwestern, and winning the individual title helped toward that,” she said, noting that the Northwestern women are No. 2 in the regional standings behind Southwestern. “Our girls’ team had a really good showing the whole rodeo.
“The girls worked really hard at it. They go out and work at it every day. Plus it’s the home rodeo, so it’s going to have some home-arena advantage over the rest of the kids.”
That makes a big difference despite the added work the rodeo team members put in to prepare for the Northwestern rodeo. In addition to selling sponsorships, the student-athletes also make sure all the behind-the-scenes details are covered in order to put on a top-notch event.
“It’s nice that you don’t have to drive to the rodeo, but it’s definitely a challenge and you have to work through that,” Kile said. “It’s kind of inconvenient to set up for the rodeo instead of just practicing for it, but it’s also the advantage because you get to be in your arena practicing ahead of time, and the other teams don’t.”
The Northwestern men finished fifth at their hometown rodeo, led by tie-down roping champion Trey Young of Dupree, S.D., who finished with a two-run cumulative time of 20.0 seconds. He leads the Central Plains Region standings heading into the four-month break; the rodeo teams won’t return to competition until February.
Young was joined in the short round by fellow tie-down roper Berk Long of Mutual, Okla.; steer wrestler Jess Woodward of Dupree, S.D.; and the team roping tandem of Hayden Pearce of Kim, Colo., and Stephen Culling of Fort St. John, British Columbia.