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From Basketball Court To Rodeo Arena

From Basketball Court To Rodeo Arena
A Purdue alumni's experience with two very different sports.

By Rachel Hayn

As an athlete in college, it's important to stay healthy, so most athletes avoid situations that would put them in harm's way and risk of injury.  For Todd Foster, men's basketball academic adviser and former Purdue University basketball player, it wasn't that simple. 

While playing basketball under the direction of Gene Keady, Purdue's coach from 1980-2005, Foster was also competing in rodeos, placing himself at risk of injury by riding saddle broncs and bulls at several rodeos as well as steer wrestling. 

"I kept it secret," Foster says.  "I was actually riding under a different name several times because I didn't want Coach Keady to find out."

Precarious Position: Yes, that's really Todd Foster, the former Purdue basketball player, wrestling a steer.

The 1996 Purdue graduate played basketball for all four years at Purdue and helped the Boilers to Big Ten titles in '94, '95 and '96.

Not only was he successful at basketball, but has also been successful at rodeos.  Foster's accomplishments in rodeo include making the top 10 at the International Pro Rodeo Association Central Region Finals in 2004 and 2005, IPRA Central Region Champion in 2006, Central States Rodeo Association Steer Wrestling Champion in 2007 and 2009, CSRA Finals Average Champion in 2008 and 2010, and Big Hat Rodeo Championship Series Steer Wrestling Champion in 2009.

Foster said the rodeo life hasn't always been filled with success – many times money was lost on entry fees.

With steer wrestling as his main event, Foster has been competing in rodeos for about 15 years but has been involved with rodeos since he was a kid.  At a young age he knew he wanted to be a part of the rodeo industry.

"When I was ten years old I remember writing something for school about wanting to be a rodeo clown," Foster says.

Although becoming a rodeo clown did not happen, Foster still became an influential person in the rodeo industry.  Along with working in the athletic department of Purdue, Foster is also the adviser for the Purdue Rodeo Association, where students are able to learn more about rodeos as well as the business side of putting on a rodeo.

Hayn is a senior at Purdue University studying Ag Communications

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