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Panhandle State Rodeo Takes Manhattan by Storm

By Sadie Latham

Panhandle State’s Wes Cole won the bareback riding title at the first rodeo of the spring season in Manhattan, Kan. —Photo by Dale Hirschman

Manhattan, Kan. — The Kansas State University college rodeo this past weekend signified the commencement of the spring rodeo season for the Panhandle State rodeo teams. A continuation of the remarkable fall season, the K-State rodeo transpired to be another demonstration of the talents and abilities of the Panhandle rodeo athletes.

Panhandle was significantly represented in the rough stock events with the distinct red and blue vests lining the bucking chutes in the bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding. Wesley Cole, a senior at Panhandle, finished third in the long round with a score of 68, he then scored a 68 in the short round, winning the short round, average, and title of Champion Bareback Rider. Cole was joined in the short round by fellow bareback riders, Ty Pellam and Will Martin. Pellam followed closely on Cole’s heels with a mark of 66 in the long and short round, placing third overall. Martin placed consistently in the long and short go with a score of 60 and 64 on two.

The bronc riders followed suit, with Jake Finlay leading the way with a winning overall average of 148 points on two. Finlay, a junior at Panhandle, left Manhattan as the 2017 Bronc Riding Champion. He was joined in the short round by fellow juniors, Cody Ballard and Agustus Jones, and freshman Scott Davis. Australian born, Ballard completed a consistent weekend with 109 points on two head, and third overall. The freshman, Davis, kept right with Ballard and Finlay, splitting fourth and fifth overall. Jones, unfortunately, experienced some tough luck in the short round.

Perhaps the biggest stand-out of the weekend was senior, Josh Frost. Native to Randlett, Utah, Frost claimed not one, but three individual championship titles. With a score of 81 points in the bull riding, consistent rounds in the tie-down roping, and the average win with 10.1 seconds on two head in the steer wrestling, Frost obtained the bull riding, steer wrestling, and Men’s all-around championship titles.

Adjacent to Frost’s native state of Utah lies Nevada. Home of Panhandle State senior Randi Buchanan. Buchanan came into the short go with a fast time of 3.3 seconds in the breakaway, and a time of 8.6 in the team roping. She experienced some difficulty in the short round.

Joining her Sunday afternoon in the short round, was senior, Mary Small, and junior Melanie Roman. Small went into the short round with a fast time of 7.4 in the goat tying, but resulted in a no time in the short round.

Roman clocked swiftly in the barrel racing with a time of 12.77 in the first go, and even faster in short round with a time of 12.5 placing her second in the barrel racing average.

Fellow teammates, Bridget Merrigan and Taylor Jacobson, a dynamic duo in the team roping competed in the short round after a speedy first round run of 7.1 seconds. Sitting second going into the short round, the pair clocked a time of 8.1 seconds, winning the short round and the average. Freshmen Merrigan and Jacobson, earned the title of Team Roping Champion Header and Heeler.

Although the women’s team finished just shy of the women’s championship title, they competed with intensity and passion for the sport of rodeo finishing in second place. The men’s team cinched an additional men’s team championship title, as well as four individual titles. The teams ended the weekend with another successful rodeo in the books for the Panhandle State Rodeo Teams as well as anticipation and expectations for many more to come.

Courtesy of OPSU