Golden Eagles take flight at Daddy of ‘Em All

female student riding a running horseThe Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo has always been Wheatland native Rayne Grant’s hometown rodeo. Though she’s watched it for years, 2023 will mark the first time she’ll enter the arena as a competitor.

Grant is a Laramie County Community College rodeo team member entering her second year in the 2023-2024 season. Before she and her teammates start their season Sept. 15, Grant and other current and former Golden Eagles will compete in the rodeo known as The Daddy of ‘Em All.

“I’ve always gone and watched it since I was little,” Grant said. “It’s different than any other rodeo, so it’s a new experience, and I’m just excited to compete at a pro level against all those girls.” 

Growing up on a ranch, rodeo culture was always a part of Grant’s life. At LCCC, she competes in breakaway, goat-tying and team roping. (Grant will compete in breakaway at CFD.) After outstanding performances on the Penn Foster High School rodeo team, making it to All-Around at the National High School Finals and qualifying multiple times for the National High School Finals Rodeo, Grant said she appreciated coming to LCCC and its strong rodeo culture.

“All your teammates have your back and everybody supports one another,” she said. “It’s really great to have that support system.”

During the 2022-2023 season, Grant had a shining moment in the Casper rodeo in April when she grabbed the fastest time of the rodeo in breakaway thanks to a 2.2 in the long go. The tough competition at CFD will bring challenges, Grant said, but she’s looking forward to giving it her best effort.

“I just have to remember that it’s just another run, trust my process and let the cards play out how they may,” she said.

Experience will be a strong point for former Golden Eagle Houston Brown. He first came to CFD in 2017 for a go in the rookie saddle bronc competition when he was an incoming freshman on LCCC’s rodeo team. Then-rodeo head coach Seth Glause came to meet Brown at the arena, an early sign of how supportive the Golden Eagle family would be for the rodeo athlete during his time at the college.

“To have that support at that point was pretty amazing,” Brown said.

As a professional rodeo athlete at this year’s CFD, Brown said he knows he’ll face other experienced and talented competitors in the arena. But that all has to be put aside to focus on doing what he does best.

“You always know you’ll have stiff competition, but if it feels like a good ride, then I know I can compete with these guys,” Brown said. “There’s no reason I can’t win if things go my way.”

LCCC interim rodeo head coach Dean Finnerty is also at CFD this year, both as a supporter of current and former Golden Eagles and as a competitor himself. Since 1988, Finnerty has competed at the Daddy of ‘Em All in steer wrestling, which is a wealth of experience he can share with LCCC athletes.

To see Golden Eagles compete in one of rodeo’s legendary venues is always a remarkable experience for coaches, Finnerty said.

“It makes a big difference that they feel prepared to be where they are, move on to the next level and be competitive after being in our program at LCCC,” he said.

Go to www.cfdrodeo.com for more information about the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo. More information and the latest news about LCCC’s rodeo team can be found at golccc.com/sports/rodeo.