Last season ended with the Northwest College women’s rodeo team short-handed because of injury and other causes.
Coach Del Nose promised to recruit hard and rebuild the ranks.
He did so and the Lady Trappers definitely have a different look. As the Sept. 7-8 season opener hosting the Big Sky Region approaches at Stampede Park, Nose would like to think the women and men are dual threats for the 2018-19 season.
“There is a lot of optimism,” Nose said.
Slack is 9 a.m. both days and 7 p.m. each night for the main rodeos.
The men finished second in the region team standings and qualified for the National College Rodeo Finals. Several top performers return, and newcomers have been added.
One competitor fits with both camps. Roper Will Griffel was a Trapper, left Northwest thinking he would finish his education elsewhere, but re-enrolled.
“I shouldn’t have done it,” Griffel said of leaving.
Griffel teams with Colten Fisher in team roping. Fisher said he won about $35,000 this summer in jackpot roping contests around Wyoming and Montana. He likes the looks of the squad.
Some of the bigger names returning from last season are the versatile Bubba Boots and Caleb McMillan, who have been competing on the rodeo circuit this summer.
Saddle bronc rider Calvin Shaffer said he had a busy summer too. He was a stalwart rider for Northwest last year and is gung-ho for this season.
“I think we have a really good team,” Shaffer said. “We have a lot of depth.”
Fallon Pelican, a breakaway roper and barrel racer, is one of the key women back, along with Scout Yochum.
Pelican said competing in Cody Nite Rodeo before the start of the college season is helpful.
“It’s a good tune-up,” she said. “It helps get our mind right.”
Logan Nunn of Lovell is a freshman and a bronc riding regular at Cody Nite Rodeo this summer, scoring a 71 as recently as Tuesday night.
Nunn concentrated on saddle bronc, but wants to compete in tie-down roping and team roping too.
“I’ll be busy,” Nunn said. “I think we can be a great team. It’s the best rodeo team I can think of.”
Nose likes the personality of this year’s team and its apparent strengths.
“I’m pleasantly surprised,” Nose said. “They work hard They are all hard workers. They all want to get better.”