Cyclone Stampede ropes in rodeo enthusiasts

Caleb Miles of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln rides in the saddle bronc-riding competition during the 49th Annual Cyclone Stampede Rodeo on Friday, Sept. 30, in Ames. Saddle bronc riding requires the rider to stay on the horse with a specific technique for at least eight seconds.

Carter Collins

The Cyclone Stampede is returning to Iowa State for its golden anniversary.

Cyclone Stampede, Iowa State’s own rodeo kicks off this year’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Week and will celebrate its 50th rodeo. The rodeo is this Saturday, Oct. 6, and Sunday, Oct. 7, at the ISU Rodeo Arena, located on State Street, two and half miles from Lincoln Way.

The rodeo is sponsored by the ISU Rodeo Club, a club on campus whose goal is to give students the opportunity to continue their interest in the rodeo.

“We also organize a roping event during Veishea,” said Calvin Hartz, club president, senior in animal science. “But our biggest spring event is the Cowboy Ball in March.”

The Rodeo Club sells tickets to students and has an auction during the Cowboy Ball. Hartz said the ball is the most anticipated event with in the club during the spring, much like how the rodeo is the most anticipated event in the fall.

Cyclone Stampede includes all the same events as a professional western rodeo. The rodeo will have all nine events, which includes Saddle Bronc Riding, Bareback Riding, Bull Riding, Barrel Racing and Steer Wrestling, to name a few. The students of the Rodeo Club are in charge of the entire production of the rodeo. This includes everything from advertisements, finding a stock contractor, and the behind the scenes production of a rodeo such as the rodeo clown.

“The hardest part of putting on the event is coordinating everything between Iowa State, the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, and your sponsors,” said Kirk Hatfield, junior in animal science and chairman of the Cyclone Stampee.

All individual winners win a belt buckle, and Hatfield said this buckle is a huge award for a student who dedicates their time to the rodeo.

“This is what they do, this is what they train for,” Hatfield said. “They have to practice just like the basketball team does. They have to work with their animals and they have to work to be accurate to win. Iowa State will have two students competing in this year’s rodeo. Cody Henkle will compete in Bull Riding and Josh Krueger will compete in Calf Roping.

Cyclone Stampede has always been changing since the first rodeo 50 years ago. The rodeo was once during Veishea but over the years has been moved to the beginning of October. The rodeo was once on campus, then at locations in the community of Ames, but the rodeo has found its permanent facility on Iowa State’s teaching farms. It was Don Hummel, retired specialist to Iowa State’s Western Research Farms and former adviser of the ISU Rodeo Club for 24 years, who has seen most of these changes happen.

“The rodeo has sometimes been controversial, but students have been choosing to come to Iowa State because of the rodeo since three students created the Cyclone Stampede 50 years ago,” Hummel said.

Hummel also said the rodeo gives students something to do besides studying and many students who become involved in the rodeo without previous experience don’t realize how much work it is to put on the rodeo.

“The students learn knowledge and skills they wouldn’t learn in the classroom,” Hummel said. “From complex rodeo teaching to simple organization skills.”

Cyclone Stampede is a rodeo sanctioned through the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Like the NCAA, the rodeo association protects students, makes sure they have a 2.0 GPA and makes sure students are enrolled in at least 12.0 credits.

“[The rodeo association] promotes college rodeo, preserves the history of college rodeo and honors the accomplishments of collegiate contestants and alumni,” said Sarah Neely, director of public relations for the association.

The association sections 110 rodeos and breaks the rodeos down into regions. Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin make up the Great Plains Region. There are 10 rodeos each year in each region. Iowa State’s Cyclone Stampede is the third rodeo in the Great Plains Region and is the only rodeo in this region left that is completely run by students.

“All students compete for College National Finals Rodeo, which is basically the Rose Bowl of collegiate rodeos,” Neely said.