HAYS, KS -- Come cold or warm weather and sun, rain or snow, the Fort Hays State University Rodeo Team rides on.
Two early National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association rodeos have marked the official beginning of the spring rodeo season.
Throughout the spring season, team members are competing not only for regional honors, but also to qualify for the College Championship Playoff Series, which determines the qualifiers for the College National Finals Rodeo, according to team sponsor Dr. Garry Brower, associate professor of agriculture.
From Feb. 23-25, the team was at Kansas State University, followed by a trip to Fort Scott Community College, March 9-11.
Nice weather greeted the team at Fort Scott for an N.I.R.A. rodeo where individuals had their first opportunity to score as a team. The men's team came away with a fifth-place finish.
Individually, Matt Jarvis, Phillipsburg senior, brought home FHSU's highest overall finish. He took third place in the long round and fourth place in the short round. That was enough to allow him to tie for second place overall in the bull-riding event. Regionally, Jarvis is in a four-way tie for 11th place for the playoffs.
Braden Stueve, Olpe junior, and his partner, Cole Mott of Pittsburg State University, finished in eighth place in the team roping competition after finishing second in the long round and eighth in the short round. Stueve moved into fifth place in the region rankings and Mott to fourth with their finish.
Spud Pratt, Scott City senior, competed in the team roping with Josh Canat of Pittsburg State University. Pratt moved up to eighth place in the region.
Brady Bartel, Cambridge senior, and Colter Dent, Brookville junior, competed in the steer wrestling event. Bartel is ranked eighth in the region and Dent is 15th in that event.
Travis Stawinski, Basehor junior, competed in the bareback event but was unable to record a score.
For the women's team, Amy Boettcher, Atkinson, NE, senior, did not place but is regionally ranked 18th in breakaway roping, and tied for 11th with partner Katie White, Little River junior, in the goat tying event.
Other women who competed at FSCC but did not place included Tanda Bartlett, Bucklin sophomore, barrel racing; Sadye Flynn, Broken Bow, NE, junior, calf roping; Jamie Mulanax, Hoyt sophomore, breakaway roping, and goat tying; and Quinley Oliphant, Valley Center junior, barrel racing.
Seventeen FHSU competitors were among the more than 650 contestants entered at the FSCC rodeo.
Two weeks earlier, the team participated in the KSU N.I.R.A. Rodeo where cold and wet weather ushered in the opening weekend of spring competition. More than 670 competitors were present.
Bartel had the highest finish of the weekend for FHSU. He took second place in the steer wrestling event and was just 0.1 second out of first.
Pratt and partner Canant finished in third place in the final ranking for team roping after taking eighth place in the short round and tying for first place in the long round with two other teams.
Boettcher was the lone woman to place for FHSU. She took third place in goat tying. Her sisters, Andrea and Annie, placed second and eighth, respectively, in the event while competing for Colby Community College.
Other FHSU competitors that participated but did not place include Ryan Day, Cimarron junior, bull riding; Dent, steer wrestling; Daric Donley, Ellsworth junior, calf roping and team roping; Jarvis, bull riding; Cody Leitner, Herndon sophomore, calf roping and team roping; Trevor Nash, Garden City sophomore, steer wrestling and team roping; White, team roping and goat tying; Stawinski, bareback riding; Stueve, team roping; Bartlett, barrel racing; Oliphant, barrel racing; Flynn, calf roping; and Mulanax, calf roping and goat roping.