Dakota Farmer

Dakotans to compete in national rodeo, roping events

Dakota Digest: Farmers Union funds mentorship program.

November 17, 2022

2 Min Read
Cowboy on horse
COWBOYS COMPETE: Athletes from North and South Dakota are heading to Las Vegas in December to compete at the National Finals Rodeo.Sarah McNaughton

Cowboys from North and South Dakota will soon head down to Las Vegas to compete in the National Finals Rodeo Dec. 1-10.

Participants from the Great Plains will compete in barrel racing, bareback riding, steer wrestling and team roping. Some will be competing at the Thomas and Mack arena lights for the first time, joining veteran contestants such as 15-time NFR qualifier Lisa Lockhart.

Athletes who compete at the NFR must earn their place by competing throughout the year. Participating this year from the Dakotas are:

  • Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D., in bronc riding

  • Levi Lord, Sturgis, S.D., in team roping (heeler)

  • Jessica Routier, Buffalo, S.D., in barrel racing

  • Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., in barrel racing

  • Junior Drees, Aurora, S.D., in team roping (header)

The National Finals Breakaway Roping competition, held separately from the National Finals Rodeo, will be Nov. 29-30, also in Las Vegas. Two competitors from South Dakota will compete this year — Rickie Engesser of Spearfish and Samantha Fulton of Miller. Breakaway roper Sawyer Gilbert, also from South Dakota, won the 2021 NFBR.

Farmers Union funds mentorship program

From 2012 to 2021, Farmers Union Enterprises provided $50,000 for recently retired instructors to mentor new farm management education instructors at Bismarck State College, North Dakota State College of Science, Lake Region State College and Dakota College. This year, FUE has provided an additional $10,000 to the North Dakota Farm Management Education Association for this mentor program.

FUE is made up of Farmers Union state divisions in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin.

“In 2012, a large number of instructors were looking at retiring within just a few years,” says Kyle Olson, a farm management education instructor at Bismarck State College. “They recognized the need to pass along the many years of knowledge, experience and agricultural contacts to new instructors. They made a request to Farmers Union, and Farmers Union responded in a huge way.”

According to Olson, the attrition of experienced instructors has continued beyond what was initially expected, so an extension of North Dakota Farmers Union funding was requested.

“By this spring, we had spent most of the initial $50,000 and put it to use with amazing results,” Olson said. “It made sense to continue mentoring new instructors with the experience of well-seasoned instructors who had just started their retirements. We made the request, and NDFU came through again with another $10,000.”

Funding for the programs in North Dakota is supported by the North Dakota Career and Technical Education Department.

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