The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) Rodeo Team travelled to Manhattan, Kan. for the Kansas State University Rodeo on the weekend on Feb. 16 for their first rodeo of the spring season. Riders competed against schools in the Central Plains Region and NEO riders earned several top-five finishes. Leading the women’s team in points was sophomore Sage Keener with a second place finished in Goat Tying. Keener is no stranger to success; the freshman from Whitesboro, Texas also earned a top-ten finish at the Stillwater rodeo in the fall. With five season rodeos left, Keener will have several opportunities to improve her times, finishing less than a second off the top spot in Manhattan. On the men’s team, Team Ropers Dalton Fuhrman and Hunter Reed pulled out a third place finish at the Kansas State event. Placing just one-tenth of a second off second place, the freshmen from Bronson, Kansas and Potosi, Missouri respectively look to develop their technique and crack into the top spot. Sophomore Joshua Pool from Fairland also earned a top-ten finish, taking sixth in the tie-down roping event. NEO Rodeo will travel to five more spring rodeos this season: Fort Scott Community College on March 9-11, Garden City Community College on April 6-8, Southwest Oklahoma State University on April 12-14, Fort Hays State University on April 20-22, and Panhandle State University on April 26-28.
Along with individual rodeo successes, several NEO riders are looking to the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR), held in Casper, Wyoming each year. Set for June 10-16, the CNFR showcases the top college talent in the nation. NEO has five riders aiming to compete, with Ben Piazza sitting third overall in the Tie-Down Roping standings, Steven Richmond sitting sixth in Steer Wrestling, Ethan Griffin and Brady Hagler at second in Team Roping, and Amber Scales currently in seventh among Barrel Racers. “We had a great weekend at the K State rodeo,” said Rodeo Head Coach Kolby Ungeheuer. “The best thing that happened is we put 3 more students in great shape to try to qualify for this year’s CNFR with the final half of the season to come. I’m very proud of all of our NEO Rodeo team members for all the hard work they have put in to prepare for the tough spring season.” (Photo from left: Joshua Pool, Sage Keener, Dalton Fuhrman, and Hunter Reed.)