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Rustlers dominate college rodeo nationals

To say the Lakeland College Rustlers rodeo team had a good weekend at the Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (CIRA) finals this March 31-April 2 would be an understatement.

The Rustlers had a fantastic weekend, winning 7 of the 10 events to earn 8 buckles during the CIRA finals hosted at Calgary Stampede's Agrium Western Event Centre

And to place the proverbial feather in their, cowboy, rather cowgirl hat, Hailey Tonn, Class of 2016 and third-year animal health technology student, was recognized as Cowgirl of the Year.

“To be chosen as the recipient is pretty humbling. I put a lot of effort into the association and do my best to encourage my teammates and fellow competitors,” says Tonn, who also served as the team’s advertising director. “To be awarded based on my involvement, it’s kind of surreal. It still hasn’t sunk in yet.”

rodeo team manager and seven buckle winners pose with buckles in front of chutesTonn also brought home the championship buckle for goat tying. Bringing home additional hardware were:
  • Danny Vandenameele - bareback
  • Karlene Weltz - pole bending
  • Jacey Crossley - barrel racing
  • Karlee Bender - breakaway roping
  • Brett Kampjes - tie-down roping and team roping with partner Braiden Bach
“It was pretty impressive to witness,” says Katelyn Ellis, Lakeland’s manager of equine and rodeo operations. “It’s great to see our student-athletes be consistently competitive across all events.”

Thirty-five student-athletes represented Lakeland, accounting for more than one-third of the finalists competing from over 20 post-secondary schools. Lakeland athletes also led the regular season in five of the 10 events to claim 46 of the 94 spots in the finals.

The Rustlers entered the finals after earning 6 of a possible 10 buckles at home during the Little Royal Rodeo. The mid-March event was the circuit’s final rodeo of the season. Weltz and Kolby Wanchuk ended the regular season as CIRA female and male hi-point leaders.

The future is looking bright for Lakeland's rodeo team and club, considering the team’s accomplishments as well as the recent crowning of Ali Mullin, Class of 2014, as Miss Rodeo Canada 2017.

“Each year, Lakeland continues to draw high-level athletes, I believe that itself adds to the program,” says Geoff Brown, faculty advisor to Lakeland’s rodeo club and team. “We have the practice facilities here and we can board horses on campus, which is a huge strength for the team.”

“Plus, the atmosphere around campus is great,” says Kampjes. “And when we attend rodeos, the team atmosphere is there. People know Team Lakeland is present.”

JB Moen (Olds College) won the bull riding buckle, Kole Ashbacher (University of Lethbridge) earned the saddle bronc title while Taylor Weinberger (Mount Royal University) won the steer wrestling contest. See all the final results on the CIRA website.

Photo: Katelyn Ellis (left) poses in front of the chutes with her championship team (left to right) Jacey Crossley, Hailey Tonn, Brett Kampies, Danny Vandenameele, Karlee Bender and Karlene Weltz. Photos from the events can be viewed and ordered from MSzabo Photography. A selection of action photos are below.

April 6, 2017

Check out LimeLite Audio & Media's interviews with the champions


Barrel Racing

Breakaway Roping

Goat Tying


Team Roping

Tie-down Roping

Championship Wrap-up

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