Vicki Ayres-McCune accepted the Top Hand Sponsor Award on behalf of Guymon Convention and Tourism from OPSU Rodeo Coach Craig Latham
-OPSU Campus Communications By Laura Hays
Guymon, Okla. – Over 200 people flocked to the Pickle Creek Event Center Saturday night and helped the Oklahoma Panhandle State University Rodeo team raise over $10,000. Prior to the auction action, Kim Peterson and staff of Hunny’s Barbecue laid out a buffet that featured smoked meat favorites including spare ribs and all of the trimmings. Rodeo Coach Craig Latham announced the 2008 Top Hand Sponsor, individuals or businesses that have been instrumental during the past year for supporting OPSU rodeo. Honors this year went to Guymon Convention and Tourism and Vicki Ayres-McCune accepted the award on their behalf. The group supports many OPSU rodeo activities such as the weekly jackpots and the rodeo schools.
Clay Meyers of Texhoma Livestock donated his professional auctioneer services and got top dollar for the variety of items that team members had donated. One of the highlights of the auction items every year is the handcrafted furniture piece created by Paul Latham, Craig’s father. This year’s signature piece, a gun cabinet, brought $1,200 and another top seller was the five day deer and elk combo hunt near Craig, Colo. that raised $1,000. Other handmade items such as an OPSU afghan hand-knitted by Whitney Harding’s elderly grandmother and a willow chair made by Tyrel Larsen’s mother also boosted the team’s funds.
Pairs or groups of three rodeo team members each agreed to donate four hours of work for the winning bidder. The pair of Jase Clark and Wade Crum proved to be the most costly, bringing in $425. Sisters Chancy and Hannah Harrington were worth $350, and the team of Ryan Bestol and Seth Schafer also brought $350.
Latham would like to thank all of those who attended and donated or purchased items. He gives special thanks to Whitney Harding, a team member who helped organize and set up the auction as well as Kim Peterson, the Pioneer Days Rodeo Committee for providing drinks, and Ken Stonecipher and his band for holding the dance afterwards.
Money raised at the auction benefits in the team in a variety of ways. It funds scholarships and travel expenses as well as the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining practice stock and continued improvements at the Doc Gardner Memorial Arena.
The 7 rodeo spring season begins February 20 at the Kansas State University rodeo in Manhattan. In the Central Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA), the OPSU men’s team holds first place and the women are in second place. OPSU boasts at least one member in the top 5 spots in bareback, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, and goat tying; in fact, four of the top five saddle bronc slots currently belong to OPSU. The annual Doc Gardner Memorial is set for April 2-4, and team members hope you will support your hometown college rodeo and encourage them all the way to the College National Finals in Casper in June.