Young GCCC rodeo team set to compete
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
Coaches always claim their team is young. Many times it's not necessarily true.
For the Garden City Community College rodeo team, it's always true.
Unlike other sports at the college, the rodeo team competes with four-year universities in its region, including Kansas State, Oklahoma State and nine other four-year institutions.
So Broncbuster coach Jim Boy Hash has his work cut out for him every year, training his incoming freshman and relying on his returning sophomores as other schools bring back seniors to compete.
Making it even harder is that the Broncbusters only return eight cowboys and a single cowgirl, and no national qualifiers. So when Hash says, "We're going to be young this year," he means it.
Hash with rely on those returners with a strong corps of team ropers.
Trenton Turner returns as a tie-down roper and team roper and will be paired with freshman Chase Gibbs out of Olsburg in the team events. Sophomores Hunter Bayse, Cayden Chumley, Jacey Mahin, Salvador Torres, Zach Leininger, Logan Patterson and Logan Vick also return as team ropers.
Bayse and Vick will also compete in tie-down roping. Vick and Leininger will try their hands at steer wrestling, as well, and Leininger will also compete in calf roping.
"Logan, he's going to have to be one of the ones that steps up," said Hash about the Kim, Colo., native. "He's going to have to be one of the leaders."
Patterson will compete in team roping, tie-down roping and bareback riding, an event he only began to compete in a year before he came to Garden City.
The Busters will have a bull rider this year in freshman Evan Golliday, who Hash said he had only seen ride a couple of times but took the advice of a friend of his to bring on to the team.
"From what I've seen, I've kind of been impressed with him," Hash said of the Lexington, Ill., product.
With the youth across the board for the Busters, Hash is keeping his expectations reasonable, he said, predicting a sixth- to eighth-place finish in the 15-team Central Plains region.
"They'll do well," he said. "I just hope they just figure out the way to win at college rodeos."
The men's team's best finish under Hash was in 2008, when they finished third in the region. Only the top two teams from each region advance to nationals.
So instead, Hash focuses on being able to qualify individual competitors to nationals, qualifying at least one in each of the 10 seasons he has been at the helm of the program.
The women's side of the program has been even more succesful, finishing as the reserve champions in 2011.
This year appears to be a rebuilding one for the Lady Busters. They return only Holcomb's Emilee Stegman, who will be ineligible to compete early in the season. There are only two other cowgirls on the roster, freshman Rae Lyn Harper and sophomore transfer Morgan Shepherd. Harper is a Garden City High School graduate and will be the only Lady Buster to compete in Garden City's first rodeo in Colby on Sept. 20 to 22. Shepherd is ineligible to compete in the first three rodeos as a penalty for transferring from Colby Community College.
"We just won't contend," Hash said about the small women's team. "There's no way. I like to be optimistic but I'm not an idiot."
Garden City travels to three rodeos in the fall, Colby, Pratt on Oct. 4 to 6, and Northwest Oklahoma State University on Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.