Champions in the Making at the 2015 Deke Latham Memorial Bronc School

By Shelbie Weeder on 05/13/2015


Cowboys from all over the country gathered in Goodwell, Okla., May 7-10 for the annual Deke Latham Memorial Bronc Riding School as well as the bareback riding school, bull riding school, and the pick-up man clinic. —Photo by Wayman Trujillo

Goodwell, Okla. — It has been proven time and time again that Oklahoma Panhandle State University produces top notch saddle bronc riders year after year. One of the main reasons this happens is because of the annual Deke Latham Memorial Bronc Riding School and the tremendous amount of young talent that is exposed to the Panhandle State tradition every year.

This year’s saddle bronc riding and pick-up man schools were held in conjunction with bareback and bull riding schools. There were 53 students in the saddle bronc riding, three in the pick-up man clinic, one student in the bareback riding, and five students in the bull riding. These students found their way to Goodwell from all over the country. There were students from North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, Alabama, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Missouri, and Ohio.

The instructors for this year’s school have over nine world titles, numerous National Finals Rodeo qualifications, and too many collegiate accolades to count between them. There is no doubt that the Doc Gardner Arena was full of more qualified instructors than any other rodeo school. Instructors included Robert Etbauer, Billy Etbauer, Dan Etbauer, Taos Muncy, Cort Scheer, Cody Taton, Tyrel Larsen, Bret Franks, and Trell Etbauer. Dan instructed both the saddle bronc riding school and the pick-up man school. Orin Larsen was the instructor for the bareback riding school and Joe Frost was the man in charge of the bull riding school.

With some of the wettest conditions seen during the annual bronc school, the students got to learn new skills and play in the mud. Moisture in the Panhandle can be scarce at times so nobody was complaining about the wet conditions. After three days of learning and practicing, the students were able to show off their new talents in a bronc match held Sunday.

The saddle bronc riding match was divided up into three sections: Cow Riding, Novice Bronc Riding, and Advanced Bronc Riding. The youngest athletes put their saddles on a few cows, this is to teach them the proper techniques and lessen the risk of injury. Jacob McCauley of Duncan, Okla. was the champion. McCauley was also named the most improved and was awarded a $1500 certificate to use towards a new bronc saddle. Chance Masters of Leon, Iowa was the champion novice saddle bronc rider. In the advanced division Peter White of Amarillo, Texas took home the champion honors.

The Open Bronc Riding Match was composed of world champions, OPSU students, and other top-notch bronc riders. The open championship was split by World Champion and former OPSU Rodeo Team member Taos Muncy, NFR Average Champion and former OPSU Rodeo Team member Cody Taton, and current OPSU student Clay Elliott. Each champion received a Deke Latham Memorial bronc halter.

The stock for the school and the match was provided by McCloy Rodeo Company, Jim Kinney, Frontier Rodeo, and Robert Etbauer. A big thank you is owed to the stock contractors as well as several others that had a hand in making this year’s school a success. A few of those people are Dr. Peter Camfield, John Sircy, Garrett McCargish, Farmer’s Elevator, Texhoma Wheatgrower’s, Hooker Equity, Tom and Phyllis Stephens, Murry Beasley, Arnold Beck, Don Rhoton and everyone that volunteered. The concessions were provided by R & R Catering of Pampa, Texas.

Three awards were also given at the conclusion of Sunday’s event. Shade Etbauer was the recipient of the Doc Gardner Memorial award, Clay Elliott received the Deke Latham Memorial Award, and Shelbie Weeder received the Shorty McCloy Memorial Award.

To continue with awards, the year-end jackpot winners were honored as well. The winners are as follows: Wesley Cole-Bareback Riding; Shade Etbauer – Calf Tying; Josh Frost – Tie-Down Roping; Terra Micek – Breakaway; Clay Elliott – Saddle Bronc Riding; Shade Etbauer – Steer Wrestling; Mardee Sierks – Goat Ground Tying; Mercedes Trenary – Goat Tying; Randi Buchanan- Barrel Racing; and Tyler Hessman – Bull Riding. The team roping year-end bonus consisted of an added money jackpot. Several ropers walked away with extra money in their pockets.

As the students leave the arena to hit the books in preparation for final exams, they would like to extend a “thank you” to the community of Texas County and all the supporters of OPSU Rodeo. The winning tradition is able to continue due to the overwhelming support of the program.