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Ready for the Rustler

Sep 16, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

CWC rodeo riders count on calm prep before the chutes open

Rodeo is known to be an action-packed, high-energy sport that requires quick thinking and deep concentration from riders in the arena. But before they mount their bulls or ready their ropes for competition, cowboys and cowgirls at this weekend's Rustler Roundup Rodeo in Riverton said they like to relax and make sure they are centered for the day ahead.

"You saddle your horses, ride them around, get them warmed up," Central Wyoming College freshman Austin Eller said Saturday morning before day two of the rodeo began. "I may go see my steer (and) get the story on him so I can make a game plan. Then I stretch out a bit, get it on my mind."

Eller has been wrestling steers since he was a sophomore in high school, and he has participated in team roping since he was 8 years old. With three trips to the High School National Finals Rodeo behind him, he said he feels confident about his abilities in the ring, but Eller still keeps his "fingers crossed" before each event.

Other Ruslters agreed that, even with experience in the arena, every run is nerve-racking. CWC sophomores Toby Dunlavy, Danni Jo Hinman and Shaylee Hance all said they get nervous.

"But sometimes that's a good thing," Dunlavy said.

"It keeps you on your feet," Hance echoed before running off to get ready for goat tying.

For some, however, it's important to stay calm. Katie Brossman, a freshman from Northeast Junior College in Sterling, Colo., said she would get "real serious" about 30 minutes before her barrel racing event on Saturday. She always makes sure she has her horse, Trigger, warmed up and stretched out long before the competition so Brossman can clear her mind.

"I zone out (so) I don't get my nerves up," she said.

Her teammate, NJC freshman Jamie Wolf, described a different strategy: He planned to mount his horse only 15 minutes before his Saturday team roping competition.

"The horse doesn't need a lot of warming up, and the less time I have to think about it, the better my run's going to be," Wolf said.

He complimented the bulldogging steers that were provided this weekend by the Powder River Rodeo Company, a Fremont County based business owned by Hank and Lori Franzen.

Their son, John Franzen, was posted in the center of the Fremont County Fairgrounds Arena Saturday morning, getting his family's bucking horses ready.

"We bring all the horses in and show them the arena so they can roll around and see where all the fences are," Franzen said as a herd of 40 broncs raced past him into the ring. "It keeps them fresh. ... The main thing is to keep them calm. You want a horse to be a horse."

He said it helps to get the animals into the arena before any onlookers arrive, as rodeo arenas typically are quiet in the hours before competition. Riders on Saturday morning scraped their horses' hooves, lassoed hay bales, and chatted with one another while they got ready for the day.

Several students studied Friday's results, while others checked their bags to make sure they had all of their equipment at hand.

Blaine Mathews of Pinedale, a freshman at CWC, got the day off after taking first place in saddle bronc riding Friday night, but he still made sure to arrive at the arena early Saturday. He said he would spend his time helping teammates prepare for their events, watching friends compete, and studying his competition.

"I just try to have fun and not over think anything," Mathews said.

"We'll see how it plays out. It's a good day for it, and I hope we do good. I think we will."

Look for results of the Rustler Roundup Rodeo in Tuesday's Ranger.

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Rustlers, CWC