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The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) Rodeo Team competed in Colby, Kan. in September for the first regular season National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) rodeo. Riders competed against schools in the Central Plains Region and three NEO riders earned a top-five spot, with Amber Scales placing first in barrel racing, Ben Piazza placing third in tie-down roping, and Steven Richmond placing fourth in steer wrestling. Scales is a freshmen Business Administration major from Pittsburg, Kan. She put herself in a comfortable position by finishing the long round in fourth. Her blazing short-go performance earned her first place and puts her at the top of the NIRA standings with 140 points. Her finish also placed the NEO women’s team in third place in the overall standings and first among two-year colleges.

For the men’s team, Freshman Agriculture Major Ben Piazza from Twin Oaks placed third in tie-down roping with a total time of 20.9 seconds over two rounds and a score of 110 points. He was joined by Freshman Steer Wrestler from Gowan, Okla., Steven Richmond. Richmond, an Agriculture major, was tenth in the long round with a time of 4.6 seconds, but fought his way back to claim fourth in the average by clocking a blazing 3.9 seconds in the short-go and scored 70 points. Their finishes place NEO in the top-ten among men’s teams.

“This was an awesome way to start our season,” said Head Coach Kolby Ungeheuer. “Having three true freshmen placing top four in their events is great and I expect great things from this year’s team. I can’t wait to get to our next competition.” The teams will compete in three more rodeos this season, heading to Durant, Okla. on September 28-30. For more information on the NEO Rodeo Program, contact Brittany Coffee at Brittany.coffee@neo.edu. (Photo from left: Ben Piazza, Amber Scales, Steven Richmond)

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