Rodeo History

1964: A group of Fort Hays State University students organized and came up with the idea of a rodeo club in 1964, and elected Bob Kephart as president. Rodney Ensel was elected secretary and Joe Hedrick filled the role of treasurer, while Dr. Cliff Edwards acted as faculty advisor. The community became involved with the club when Doug Philip and Donita Moore became sponsors.
 
1965: The Fort Hays State University Rodeo Club was officially organized and recognized in the fall of 1965 by the Student Organizations Committee. Larry Kumle was club president, Larry O’Bleness became vice-president, and Glenda Rudolph and Dennis Swayze became secretary and treasurer, respectively. The club gained 46 members that year and was dubbed “one of the fastest growing organizations on campus” by the 1965 Fort Hays Kansas State College yearbook after rodeo-ing in Ellis and attending the annual K-State Rodeo in Manhattan, Kan. It wasn’t until 1966 that Hays, Kan., saw its first FHSU Rodeo Club performance. 
 
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1966: After much preparation, the Saddle Club arena, then located on what is now Commerce Drive in Hays, Kan., transformed from an area filled with buffalo mesh fencing, utility pole posts and minimal lighting capabilities to one with custom built bucking chutes and bleachers that would hold more than 2,000 people. The First Annual Fort Hays Kansas State Intercollegiate Rodeo, held May 6 and 7, 1966, was the first rodeo of its kind in the Hays area in more than 20 years. Students Floyd Rumford and Joe Hedrick furnished livestock and fought bulls, respectively. Other students participated by competing in barrel racing, bareback riding and crowning the Rodeo Queen. The event attracted 11 other schools to participate. The 1966 Rodeo Club officers were Harry Trosin as president, Jim Ochs as vice-president, Joyce Ochs as secretary, and Larry O’Bleness as treasurer. Leon Maxson and Robert Lowen served as faculty advisors. 
 
1967: Fort Hays State University Rodeo Club used funding from their first intercollegiate rodeo in 1966 to produce a new arena for the Second Annual Fort Hays Kansas State Intercollegiate Rodeo on May 5 and 6, 1967. The Rodeo Club presented its first scholarship to a top high school senior and entertained crowds with comedy acts, bull fighting and other events. Larry Kumle was the club’s president, Larry O’Bleness was vice-president, Glenda Rudolph was secretary, and Dennis Swayze was club treasurer. Community sponsors included Robert Lowen and Leon Maxson. Nancy Cotham was the Women’s Faculty Sponsor. Doug Philip and Tom Hancock were also faculty sponsors.
 
1968: Under the leadership of Rodeo Club President Sig Collins, Vice-President Roy Turley, Secretary Pansy Callaway and Treasurer John Ficken, the Third Annual Rodeo, May 10-11, was a success. That year brought much-needed rains to Hays, adding an unusual element to the intercollegiate competition. The FHSU girls’ team took top honors and the men’s team placed second. Joe Hedrick acted as rodeo clown, assisted by Floyd Rumford, a trained mule and two trained llamas. A sponsored barn dance and two academic scholarships, which were awarded to two club members, completed the event. 
 
1969: The Fourth Annual Rodeo was held May 16-18, 1969 under Rodeo Club President Rick Stewart, Vice-President John Rohrbaugh, Secretary Kay Lynn Philip and Treasurer Roy Turley. The Rodeo Club efforts were directed by community sponsors Doug Philip and Rose Smith and faculty members Leon Maxson and Bob Lowen. Floyd Rumford furnished the livestock. 
 
1970: The Fifth Annual Rodeo was successful under club officers Neil Barstow as president, Tim Miser as vice-president, Cathy Garten as secretary and Ray Nokes as treasurer. This year Joe Hedrick returned as a bullfighter and comedy act. This rodeo also acted as the first alumni rodeo. 
 
1971: This year’s Rodeo Club officers were President Deone Hudson, Vice-President Alan Dreiling, Treasurer Kathy Garten and Secretary Yvette Graves for the Sixth Annual Rodeo, held April 30-May 2. Bettering the fair grounds by building additional bleachers at the arena was a definite club focus. Community sponsors were Rose Smith and faculty sponsors were Bob Lowen and Lorraine “Jack” Jackson. Rumford furnished the livestock for the rodeo and Joe Hedrick saved the cowboys.
 
1972: For the Seventh Annual Fort Hays Rodeo, held April 21-23, 15 colleges and universities participated. Events included bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and Brahma bull riding. The FHSU men’s team took first place over-all and the women’s team achieved second place. Club members included President Jim Zoltenko and others. Hudson Rodeo Company furnished the livestock and Joe Hedrick provided entertainment as a bullfighter and clown. 
 
1973: The Eighth Annual Rodeo was held May 4-6 and hosted a variety of competitions and visiting universities. Helen Miles and Lorraine “Jack” Jackson were faculty sponsors. Doug Philip and Rose Smith were community sponsors. 
 
1974: The Ninth Annual Rodeo was held May 3-5. Men’s events included bareback saddle-bronc, bull-riding, bull-dogging, calf-roping and ribbon-roping. The women’s events were barrel racing, goat-tying and break-away roping. The overall rodeo record was exceptional enough to send nine of FHSU’s rodeo members to the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s national finals in Bozeman, Mon. They won second and sixth place in the nationwide competition.
 
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1975: The 10th Annual Fort Hays State Intercollegiate Rodeo was held May 2-4. This year was eventful due to a massive amount of rainfall prior to the first event. Cowboys and girls were streaked with mud during the competition. The negative effects of this showed in the timed competitions’ results. Individual event winners won championship belt buckles and all-around winners in both men and women’s categories were rewarded with custom-made saddles, according to the 1975 Fort Hays State University yearbook.
 
1976: The 11th Annual Rodeo was held April 30 and May 1-2. This year there was no rain, but unusually cold temperatures resulted in low attendance. Twenty-three colleges from Kan., Mo. and Okla. competed during the rodeo. 
 
1977: The 12th Annual Rodeo was held April 29-30 and May 1. With 15 colleges and universities competing, the 12th Annual Rodeo was a $14,000 event, according to the 1977 Fort Hays State University yearbook. Rodeo Club built additional horse pens and doubled the available area for members’ livestock. Fort Hays State University classified rodeo-ing as a sport in their 1977 yearbook because of an increase in national attention in recent years. Lorraine “Jack” Jackson, assistant professor of journalism and Rodeo Club sponsor, said that as much as $8,000 was awarded to students in scholarships.
 
1978: The 13th Annual Rodeo was held April 28-30. Unpleasant weather once again hurt attendance and individual performances. This year, FHSU’s Rodeo Club improved their arena with small repairs and built a horse barn.
 
1979: The 14th Annual Rodeo was held April 27-29. Over 300 contestants from 22 Midwest colleges and universities competed. This year, the Rodeo Club increased its membership from 25 to 50 with help from their alumni association. 
 
1980: The 15th Annual Rodeo was held May 2-4, and featured 20 teams from Kan. and Okla. in regional competition. Before the spring rodeo, the Rodeo Club improved rodeo ground maintenance and built new restrooms at the arena site. Larry Insley was the faculty advisor.
 
1981: Rodeo Club held the first Tri-State Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) Rodeo from Sept. 26-28. According to the 1981 Fort Hays State University yearbook, “Over 260 participants from Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska practiced rodeo techniques while receiving special instruction from club members.” Their significant yearly event, the 16th Annual Rodeo, held on a hot, windy weekend, May 1-3, attracted students from area colleges. Bobby Massey was Rodeo Club president. Garry Brower served his first year as faculty advisor with Doug Philip, Dennis Schmidt and Bernie Harvey as the community sponsors. 
 
1982: The 17th Annual Rodeo was held April 30-May 2. This year Rumford Rodeo Company organized the livestock and Don Barton provided organ music. Jerry McNamar served as announcer for the competition.
 
1983: The 18th Annual Rodeo was held April 29-May 1. Steve Dinkel, Doug Philip and Dennis Schmidt were community sponsors. Butch Lehmkuhler and Rich Reinert fought bulls and presented an entertaining trampoline act. 
 
1984: The 19th Annual Rodeo was held April 27-29 with Bryan Guipre as president, Mike Smith as vice-president, Kathleen Lindquist as secretary and Neal Beetch as treasurer. Earlier in the year Rodeo Club members toured Hays grade schools to promote the university rodeo and demonstrate rodeo techniques. Although inclement weather once again lowered attendance, more than 300 competitors participated in the intercollegiate competition. Don Barton provided music and Jerry McNamar was the announcer. Floyd Rumford furnished the livestock for the rodeo. 
 
1985: The 20th Annual Rodeo was held April 26-28, 1985. Once again, cold rain and sleet harmed attendance this year. Terry Heina was Rodeo Club’s president, Jay Stretcher was vice-president, Kathleen Lindquist was secretary and Elaine Carpenter was treasurer. Lee Ann Brown played the organ, Jerry McNamar announced and Rumford Rodeo Company furnished livestock. In September, the Rodeo Club had their 5th Annual ARC Rodeo. Don Barton played music and Jarry McNamar announced.
 
1986: The 21st Annual Rodeo was held April 25-27, under National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association standards. Terry Heina served a second term as Rodeo Club president, Mike Smith was vice-president, Eve Swaim was secretary and Monte Hampton and Mark Levdig were co-treasurers. Hudson Rodeo Company furnished the livestock, S.L. Howdy White announced and Lee Ann Brown played the organ.
 
1987: This year hosted the 22nd Annual Rodeo, held April 24-26. Mike Smith was president of Rodeo Club, John Ostrum was vice-president, Claudette Pachta was secretary, and Lisa Arnoldy was treasurer. Rumford Rodeo Company furnished the livestock, Jerry Taylor announced and Lee Ann Brown played music. Kevin Rich fought bulls and introduced his infamous “gator” act. Rodeo Club team members competed in events such as saddle bronc riding, bull riding, bareback competition, calf roping, steer wrestling and team roping. Women’s sports were barrel racing, team roping and modified roping events.
 
1988: With Kevin Rich as Rodeo Club president, Kyle Camidilli as vice-president, Fort Hays State University’s 23rd Annual Rodeo, held April 29-May 1, was a success. The Rodeo Club made $10,000 worth of renovations to the rodeo arena according to the 1988 Fort Hays State University yearbook. Rumford Rodeo Company provided livestock, Lee Ann played music, Jerry Taylor announced and Kevin Rich provided entertainment by fighting bulls and performing a comedy act. 
 
1989: Fort Hays State University’s 24th Annual Rodeo was held April 28-30. This year, Dennis Anderson was Rodeo Club president and Bronc Rumford accepted an unpaid, part-time position as rodeo coach. Rumford Rodeo Company provided livestock for the event. Jerry Taylor announced, Kevin Rich fought bulls and entertained with comedy acts. Three FHSU Rodeo Club team members qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo In Bozeman, Mont. The Rodeo Club improved thanks to four transfer students from junior colleges; Kent Crouch, Ty Rinaldo, Nancy Reece and Michelle Radacy. Ty Rinaldo was the champion bull rider for the Central Plains Region, but an early injury during the rodeo kept him from properly competing. Student Kent Crouch was named Central Plains Champion Bareback Rider and the CPR Reserve Champion All-Around Cowboy. Kevin Rich was the Central Plains Reserve Champion Bull Rider. 
Rich participated in the competition and even competed in the free-style bull fighting at the request of CNFR Stock Contractor Harry Vold as a replacement bullfighter. Rich and a group of friends received this request only after a day filled with golf, basketball, and a heavy supper. Gary Brower said that a comment Rich made referring to their meal caused the Mexican-style restaurant owner to give them overwhelming amounts of food. This resulted in Rich performing on a full stomach and tired legs, he said. 
As Brower recalls, Rich tried to impress the crowd by jumping a bull. He would have succeeded had he stepped on the bull’s head and not its face. Fortunately, Rich escaped the arena in good time. As he exited the arena, his friends reportedly watched him and thought, “Don’t embarrass us by falling off the fence,” while Rich thought, “Lord, don’t let me puke in front of them.” Rich finished in third place that night and in second place the next two nights. 
 
1990: Due to unsafe fencing, the 25th Annual Rodeo, held April 27-29, moved to the Ellis County Fair Ground Rodeo Arena. The Rodeo Club women’s team continued a winning tradition by qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo. Michelle Radacy qualified as the CPR Champion Breakaway Roper. Brenda Minkley-Cress and Kristi White-Kroeger formed the CPR Reserve Champion Women’s Team. Ty Rinaldo was Rodeo Club president and served one term as the CPR Student Director. Rumford Rodeo Company provided livestock, Jerry Taylor announced and Kevin Rich entertained by fighting bulls. 
 
1991: It was in 1991 that Garth Brook’s single “Rodeo” popularized rodeos. Before the 26th Annual Rodeo, held April 26-28, the Rodeo Club team worked feverishly to remodel The Ellis County Fair Ground Rodeo Arena with pipe-framed fencing, weld cattle panels and improve bull and horse pens. Rob Hedrickson was named Central Plains Reserve Champion Bareback Rider. Joe Clevenger was Rodeo Club president and served the remainder of the term as CPR Student Director. Rumford Rodeo Company furnished the livestock and Jerry Taylor announced. 
 
1992: Before the 27th Annual Rodeo, the timed event arena pens were replaced with pipe and sucker-rod construction and video quality lighting was installed. The horse stall facilities, constructed in 1967, became an annual work project. The arena was dedicated as the Doug Philip Arena in memory of the original Rodeo Club community sponsor and advisor. A memorial fund was also established this year to assist with arena updates and repair. After the repairs and dedication were complete, the 27th Annual Rodeo began. The officers were President Shane Johnson, Vice-President Rob Hendrickson and Secretary/Treasurer Lacie Lagasse. Rumford Rodeo Company provided livestock for the competition, Jerry Taylor announced and Sugar Ray Quinn, Rapid City, SD, fought bulls.
 

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1993: Rodeo Club President Greg Farney, Vice-President Clay Preedy, Secretary/Treasurer Linette Schaller and other Rodeo Club members organized the Three Alarm Benefit for fire victims Tally Ann Klitzke, Rod and Christi Werth and Jerry DeWeese. The fundraiser dance raised $634 according to the 1993 Fort Hays State University yearbook. During the 28th Annual Rodeo, held April 23, 1993, Jim Brown won the Wild Ride as Victor E. Tiger.
 
1994: In the fall, Mike Lee organized riding classes for the Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. Rodeo club members participated and provided horses to help make the riding classes successful. From April 29-May 1, 1994, the 29th Annual Rodeo took place despite heavy rain, sleet and wind. This year began the reign of “Lightning” Larry Deges as bullfighter for the annual rodeo. Ex-rodeo club member Brent Schreiber assisted Deges in fighting bulls and providing comedy. Rodeo Club officers were Darin Alexander as president, Paul Wertenberger as vice-president, and Jill Garrett as secretary and treasurer. Rumford Rodeo Company provided the rodeo livestock and Jerry Taylor announced despite bad weather. 
 
1995: The 30th Annual Rodeo took place from April 21-23 under the guidance of Rodeo Club second-term President Darin Alexander, Vice-President Mike Greenleaf, Secretary Dena Lamb and Treasurer Gill Garrett. Rumford Rodeo Company provided the rodeo livestock, Kyle Elwood announced and Deges and Brent Schrieber returned to provide entertainment. Mike Smith and Gary Rolland joined the community sponsors beside Dennis Schmidt. The Rodeo Club’s riding classes with DSNWK returned this year after tremendous success.
 
1996: The 31st Annual Rodeo utilized Rumford Rodeo Company livestock. The Rodeo Club President was Mike Greenleaf and Kyle Elwood announced. Larry Deges and Brent Schrieber provided entertainment. Ex-rodeo member Tally Ann Klitzke won the title of Miss Rodeo Kansas. There were 17 teams and 23 colleges and universities represented in the competition that year. The Annual Rodeo saw exceptional competition from FHSU’s Rodeo Club women’s team in their events.
 
1997: The 32nd Annual Rodeo was held April 25-27. The Rodeo Club president was Duane Barringer, Jason Sneath was vice-president, Suzette Long was secretary and Melissa Graham was treasurer. Rumford Rodeo Company furnished the livestock and Jerry Taylor announced. Larry Deges and Brent Schrieber once again provided entertainment by fighting bulls. Lester Sims and Rick Anderson assisted Bronc Rumford with coaching the team. Albert Ree of Town and Country Water Well Service joined Gary Rolland, Dennis Schmidt and Mike Smith as the community sponsors.
 
1998: The 33rd Annual Rodeo was a success as Hope Whitaker was named the 1998 Central Plains Reserve Champion Goat Tyer and qualified for the 1998 College National Finals Rodeo for the first time since 1990. The spring event directed by Rodeo Club President Kyle VanDoren, Vice-President Jason Sneath, Secretary Suzette Long and Treasurer Brian Stawinski. Unfortunately, Floyd Rumford, Jr. passed away of Wegener’s Disease on May 25, 1998.
 
1999: 
 
2000: The 35th Annual Rodeo was held April 28-30 after the outdoor and indoor arena acquired new lights, new infrared heaters were put in the indoor arena and remodeling on the siding and roof of the clubhouse began. Spud Pratt and Josh Canat qualified for the 2000 College National Finals Rodeo in team roping and finished as the 4th place team in national rankings. Dustin Quint was the Rodeo Club president, Levi Taylor was vice-president, Andi Riddle was secretary, and Sadye Flynn was treasurer. Rumford Rodeo Company once again provided livestock, Mike Ramsey announced and Larry Deges and Brent Schrieber fought bulls. 
 
2001: April 27-29 held the 36th Annual Rodeo. Spud Pratt was named the CPR Reserve Champion Team Roper. Ryan Day served as Rodeo Club president, Spud Pratt was vice-president, Quinley Oliphant was secretary and Katie White was treasurer. The Rodeo Club used Rumford Rodeo Company livestock. Mike Ramsey announced the events and Larry Deges and Brent Schrieber fought bulls for entertainment.
 
2002: The 37th Annual Rodeo saw success as four individuals qualified for the College Rodeo Championship Series (otherwise known as the “Playoffs”). The competitors were Matt Jervis in Bull Riding; Amy Boettcher in goat tying; and Spud Pratt and Braden Stueve in team roping. Pratt qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in team roping and finished as 3rd in the nation. Braden Stueve also qualified for the CNFR in team roping. Matt Jarvis not only qualified for the “Playoffs,” but also was the CPR Reserve Champion Bull Rider and qualified for the CNFR in bull riding. 
 
2003: The 38th Annual Rodeo was held April 25-27, under direction of Matt Jarvis as Rodeo Club president, Leslie Foos as vice-president, Kristy Bryant as secretary and Shawna Howell as treasurer. Matt Jarvis was named the CPRA Champion Bull Rider that year. Luke Boeser became a member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association All-Star Team and Lana Stueve was the recipient of the NIRA Rawhide Scholarship, which is worth $500.
 
2004: In the program for the 39th Annual Rodeo, held April 23-25, Keith VanDoren, St. John, was officially noted in the rodeo program as an assistant coach after years of coaching Rodeo Club steer wrestlers. Rodeo Club officers were Bernie Boeser as president, Luke Boeser as vice-president, Heidi Housholder as secretary and Lana Stueve as treasurer. Rumford Rodeo Company provided livestock and Tim Fuller took over announcing duties. Sam Gress and Jeff Roberts entertained the crowds by fighting bulls. Bob Goodrow joined Dennis Schmidt, Albert Ree and Mike Smith as community sponsors for the event. 
 
2005: The 40th Annual Rodeo, held April 22-24, brought a new coach to the rodeo team—Bernie Boesner. The Rodeo Club officers were Austin Boggs as president, Cole Carmac as vice-president, Haley Hazen as secretary and Karli Sherwood as treasurer. Rumford Rodeo Company furnished the livestock, Travis Schauda was the announcer and Sam Gress and Jeff Roberts fought bulls. 
 
2006: The 41st Annual Rodeo was held April 21-23. Travis Carmac qualified for the 57th College National Finals Rodeo in steer wrestling and placed fifth in the national rankings. Haley Hazen was Rodeo Club president, Lance Manker was vice-president, Amy Smith was secretary and Logan Glaze was treasurer. Rodeo Club used Rumford Rodeo Company livestock for the event and Travis Schauda announced. Sam Gress and Jeff Roberts fought bulls. 
 
2007: Following the 42nd Annual Rodeo, Brooke Inlow was named the Central Plains Reserve Champion Goat Tyer and finished at 13th place in the national rankings following the College National Finals Rodeo. Fort Hays State University President Dr. Edward Hammond showed support of rodeo by creating two positions designed to maintain the rodeo program at FHSU. The hiring of Bronc Rumford and Ross Russell in August of 2008 resulted from this decision. Bronc Rumford was a FHSU Rodeo Club team member during college and is the owner and manager of Rumford Rodeo Company. Ross Russell was named assistance coach after his graduation from FHSU in 2008. 
 
2008: The 43rd Annual Rodeo was held April 18-20 under President Travis Camac, Vice-President Logan Glaze, Secretary Sadie Crawford and Treasurer Jenna Rolland. Rumford Rodeo Company furnished livestock, Travis Schauda announced and Sam Gress and Wacey Munsell fought bulls. 
 
2009: Close to 500 entries from 25 Kansans and Oklahoma universities and colleges comprised the 2009 rodeo. Cold and rainy weather the first day gave way to sunshine and warmth the rest of the weekend. Four FHSU rodeo team members made the short-go round, and it was the first college rodeo worked by Canadian bullfighter Aaron Ferguson. Rumford Rodeo Company provided livestock for the event. 
 
2010: The 45th Annual Rodeo was held April 16-18 under the direction of Rodeo Club President Kody Kiser, who also served as treasurer of the Student Government Association, Vice-President Calli Capraro, Secretary Nikki Brobst and Treasurer Jennifer Sherman. Mike Greenleaf’s Medicine River Rodeo Company furnished the livestock, Trais Schauda announced and Ethan McDonald and Aaron Ferguson fought bulls. 
 
2011: The 46th Annual Rodeo was hosted April 15-17 under President Cole Pearson, Vice-President Callie Capraro, Secretary Nikki Brobst and Treasurer Jennifer Sherman. The first reunion for Rodeo Club alumni was also held. Inclement weather canceled events on April 15, and the rodeo resumed the next day with Travis Shauda announcing.
 
2012: FHSU's 2012 Rodeo (47th annual) took place April 20-22 under abnormally agreeable weather. New Priefert bucking chutes provided an upgrade to the rodeo facilities and further helped deliver seamless rodeo performances for the weekend. Travis Shauda once again delivered commentary as MC of the weekend's events, and Justin Rumford entertained the crowds as rodeo clown. Rumford is one of five finalists for Rodeo Clown of the Year in Professional Rodeo. Medicine River Rodeo Company, led by FHSU alum Mike Greenleaf, provided livestock for the event.

While no students qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR), several participants from FHSU made it to the short-go rounds and accumulated points for the team. FHSU's rodeo was also voted one of the top rodeos in the region.