LCCC Rodeo Team flying high

Photo of Rayne Grant riding her horse with words related to rodeo written around her

Griffin Koester bull riding

Kimberly Archuletta in the stables with a horse

Jase Longwell bronc riding

MyLee Welch goat tying

There was a lot for LCCC rodeo coach Seth Glause to be proud of in 2022. But when he looks at the remarkable group of athletes he coaches, Seth says it’s not a surprise. 

“It goes back to the athlete’s work ethic,” he says. “They got to this point because they’ve worked hard and taken care of business. I’m proud of them as people and as students.”

Last year marked the first time in 37 years that a LCCC rodeo athlete finished in the top 10 at the College National Finals Rodeo in back-to-back years. Five Golden Eagles—sophomore Sage Miller, junior Payton Feyder, sophomore Stefan Tonita, junior Hayden Madsen and junior Bernard Girard—qualified for the event in Casper last year.  

Sage finished 10th in the nation in saddle bronc riding, riding three of his four horses for a total of 207.5 points. It was the second consecutive year that Stefan qualified for CNFR, and it was the first time at the national competition for the other four athletes. This year marked the first time in 18 years that the women’s team has scored points at CNFR. 

“For those individuals to have that kind of success at a national level is a big deal for our students and something new for our program,” Seth says. 

Sage and Stefan have gone on to compete at a professional tier. Sage is currently competing in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Stefan is in Canada competing in Professional Bull Riders.  

“We’ve got several students competing at high levels, so hopefully we’ll see more of that in coming years,” Seth says. 

Fueled by the success in 2022, Seth and his athletes are more excited than ever for 2023, as they entered the season with both the men’s and women’s teams ranked third in the region. 

Payton is proud of her team winning the Shawn Dubie Memorial Rodeo in two out of her three years with the team. Leading the region in breakaway and winning her first all-around title were the highlights of 2022. Looking ahead, she hopes to continue leading the Central Rocky Mountain Region in breakaway, and give LCCC a regional title in back-to-back years. 

Being a part of the rodeo team has taught Payton about more than rodeo, she says. 

The connections she’s made and life lessons she’s learned will carry through a lifetime.

“I feel like a huge part of growing up is having that rodeo family as part of my life,” Payton says. “I have made friends that I would call family along the way. And obviously the education I’m getting in school comes first, but the memories and friendships will stay with me as well.” 

For junior calf-roper and steer-wrestler Chance Derner, 2023 is a year full of opportunity. 

“We’re all excited to get back at it and get the horses in shape and perform again,” he says. 

Finding that success has taken work, Chance says. It starts each morning, when rain or snow or shine, athletes begin the work of taking care of their animals. 

“You’ve got to step up and take some responsibility to be a part of this team,” he says. 

But the reward is worth the fight, Chance says. And whatever happens with the rodeo team, Chance says he’s happy knowing that he’ll leave LCCC with a degree. With his qualifications and experiences in tow, he’s excited for the future that LCCC made possible. 

“If you like to go to a smaller school that has everything right there on campus, you can’t find a better place,” Chance says.