GCCC rodeo still a first-class event

3/2/2014

Eighteen schools converge on local fairgrounds for annual college rodeo.

Eighteen schools converge on local fairgrounds for annual college rodeo.

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

A lot of work goes into Garden City Community College's annual rodeo, which celebrated its 47th year this weekend, making it the longest continuous running college rodeo in the central plains region.

Jim Boy Hash is not only the rodeo coach of GCCC's team, but he is also the faculty director of the region, which he said is the nation's largest.

"There are 11 regions in college rodeo throughout the U.S., and this is the largest membership-based region. It's the Central Plains Region, and it covers all of Oklahoma and Kansas," Hash said.

Eighteen schools from Oklahoma and Kansas make up the region, including GCCC, Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University and Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

"There are about 420 contestants here this weekend," Hash said.

Over the weekend, participants competed in calf roping, steer wrestling, breakaway roping, goat tying, team roping and barrel races.

GCCC's rodeo has been voted in the top three of college rodeos practically every year.

"I like to say it's one of the better ones. It seems like we're always in the top three of the voting for rodeo of the year, year after year. We may not win it every year, but it seems like we're always one of the top three vote-getters for rodeo of the year," Hash said. "One thing — we don't spend a lot of time, like some of the rodeos get drawn out and take a long time, but I don't want people sitting down here all day. I want these people in town spending money. It's hard for the community to support my rodeo if they're hanging out down here."

As faculty director of the region, Hash's responsibilities go beyond GCCC's rodeo.

"I sit on the national board of directors, so I'm kind of a liaison between the national board and the commissioner of college rodeo in our region," Hash said. "So I'm not only responsible for my rodeo but all the rodeos we go to. I'm kind of responsible for making things go smoothly with those, as well."

The central plains region, because it is the largest, is also one of the most competitive.

"This one and the southwest region, which is west Texas and eastern New Mexico, are probably two of the most competitive just because they're the largest," he said.

On Friday night, Hash instructed GCCC criminal justice students of their job duties, mainly to ensure that only spectators were sitting in the south stands.

As he pointed at a young man with a cowboy hat, vest and chaps on, he told the students, "If they look like him, don't let them sit in the stands. Direct them to the bleachers on the other side."

Criminal justice students also handled admission and handed out flyers to spectators.

As Whitney Hall, freshman at Western Oklahoma State University, stood next to her horse, Pumpkin, on Saturday, she said that aside from the cold weather, it was a great rodeo.

"The weather's a little cold, but it could always be worse, so I'm not going to complain," Hall said.

Shelby Weber, a junior at Oklahoma State University, had her miniature Australian shepherd puppy, Quigley, with her at the rodeo. She said her best event is team roping but that it didn't go so well.

"I didn't do any good," Weber said. "My header missed. When you're team roping, you have your header and your heeler, and your header ropes the horns and your heeler just catches the feet. And my header missed, so I didn't get to rope."

Despite that, Weber was in good spirits as Quigley greeted everyone who walked by with puppy-like enthusiasm.

Quigley has come to enjoy the rodeo atmosphere.

"I got him for Christmas, and so, when he was littler, I would just tie him up because I don't want him to get stepped on, and so he'd cry and cry. Now he'll lay down and just watch," she said, laughing.

Stephen Culling, a junior at Northwestern State University, has been to the GCCC rodeo several times.

"I've never had any luck here, but it's a good rodeo," Culling said, laughing. "They do a good job."

Participants competed in the long go on Friday and Saturday, and the top 10 in each event competed in the short go on Sunday.

Due to winter weather, Cindy Venjohn, ag instructor at GCCC, said rodeo coordinators rescheduled the short go from 1:30 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday.

"That way, these kids can get on the road during the daylight," Venjohn said.

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