Alert: Our February 19 Scholarship Day event has been cancelled due to inclement weather/travel conditions in the region.
The Northwest College rodeo team kicked off its lineup of rodeo schools at the Heart Mountain Equestrian Center Friday, March 3.
About a dozen regional rodeo athletes attended the first of the three-day schools, which are being taught by world champions and national qualifiers.
From March 3-5, classes on saddle bronc and bareback riding were taught. National Finals Rodeo qualifier Jess Martin instructed the saddle bronc riders, while world champion
Larry Peabody taught the bareback bronc riders.
According to NWC rodeo coach Del Nose, the classes last week and the ones that will be offered later this month and during early April are an opportunity for both amateur and professional rodeo athletes to polish their skills. Each school also includes plenty of hands-on experience, proven stock, a review of chute procedures, training techniques and safety practices.
Nose also noted that each three-day class for various rodeo events can be taken for college credit.
"We're starting out with the basics," Nose said prior to the start of last week's saddle bronc and bareback riding classes. "We'll spend a lot of time on safety before they actually get
out and ride in the arena."
On Friday, Martin, who lives in Dillon, Mont., began his portion of class instruction with the importance of getting a saddle set up correctly for bronc riding. He worked individually with each student. For some, what Martin taught them was nothing new. For others, his instructions on proper saddle setup to how to get off a saddle bronc helped the students begin the road to breaking some bad habits that were already beginning to develop.
"What I try to do is teach them the basics," Martin said. "Each rider has his own personal preferences, and I just try to help them by teaching them things that can help them become a little bit better. The fun part is seeing it all come together for someone. For some, it all comes together on their 10th ride. For others, it takes years. It's different for everybody."
Martin, who has qualified for the National Finals Rodeo four times, hopes that his experience and lessons will help riders reach thatlevel where "it all comes together" so they can begin their journey down the road to success.
For those participating in the bareback bronc riding class, the focus was much the same as they learned basic techniques from Peabody, a former world champion, who also calls Montana home. Peabody won the world championship in 1984.
To aid in the class instruction, video footage was taken of all riders so they could review and evaluate their performances.
Dion Campbell, 14, of Wapiti, was one of about a dozen young students at last weekend's opening session. Campbell, a freshman at Cody High School, has been pursuing a career in rodeo since he was 8. He added that being able to learn from topnotch instructors like Martin is a big boost to what he's trying to accomplish.
"He's definitely someone you listen to," Campbell said. "He's been successful, and I've already learned several things from him that will help me get better."
Remaining classes will be taught for steer wrestling, calf roping and bull riding. Steer wrestlers will be able to learn from world champion Frank Thompson. Calf ropers will be trained by Maury Tate, a Dodge Circuit finals champion. The scheduled calf roping session is already filled, but a second session may be offered if enough interest is shown. Bull riders will be instructed by Jerry Shephard, another National Finals Rodeo qualifier.
Steer wrestling and calf roping will be taught March 24-26. Bull riding classes will take place March 31 through April 2. Like the previous classes, these will be taught at the Heart Mountain Equestrian Center.
The cost for each three-day school is $300, and scholarships are available. For more information on the classes, contact Del Nose at (307) 272-0221. He can also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.