With eight rodeos under its belt this season, the Fort Hays State University rodeo team traveled to Weatherford, Okla., April 8-10 for the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Rodeo. Out of the 593 entries, FHSU had 31, with two of its members making it through to their events' finals.
Cody Pratt, Monte Vista, Colo., senior, qualified for his first short-go of the 2009-2010 season in steer wrestling, stopping the clock in 5.3 seconds in the long round. Cody Kiser, Augusta junior, qualified for the short-go for the third time this season with a 68-point ride in the bull riding.
Although many spectators don't realize it, rodeo competitors rely a great deal on the stock they draw, and how well they do depends on how good of an animal they are given to compete on.
"It's been a long, slow spring, so it was nice to finally draw a steer that let me compete," Pratt said.
In the short-go, Pratt finished his run with a time of 4.4, but a broken barrier added an additional 10 seconds to his run, putting him seventh in the average. Had Pratt not have left the box too early, he would have finished the rodeo third in the average. But as Pratt said, fearing the barrier and never taking a chance at it will never win a rodeo.
"At this level of competition, the barrier determines your success," Pratt said. "Being late takes you out of it."
Kiser, who wasn't even able to compete during the fall season due to surgeries, said he was glad to be back in the game.
"I'm glad to be back to riding," said Kiser. "I'm just having fun."
Although Kiser has done well enough in the long rounds to make it to the finals, he has been unable to stay on his short-go bulls for the full eight seconds.
"It's great, but at the same time it's frustrating," he said, "because even though I'm making short rounds, you can't win or make the CNFR if you don't ride your short round bulls."
Kiser finished sixth in the average in Weatherford.
The current standings and rodeo results can be found on the NIRA Web site, www.collegerodeo.com. For more information on the FHSU Rodeo Team, visit the Web site at www.fhsu.edu/rodeo.