With a season in the books, the Northern Light College rodeo team can say it’s had a successful start.
Three athletes were on the final roster — Denton Spiers, Fallyn Mills, and Sierra Jones — and all finished top ten or better in the Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeo Association regular season, and earned a spot in the Canadian College Finals Rodeo.
At the finals in Brooks, Alberta, all three did well. Spiers who finished the season first in bull riding, also claimed the title at finals. Mills won the first round of breakaway roping, and finished the finals third in both breakaway roping and goat tying, and was named the Reserve All Around Cowgirl. Jones finished seventh at the finals in goat tying.
“It’s been a very successful season,” said Todd Bondaroff, associate VP, student services with NLC. “I would say in the fall there was lots of transition on how college rodeo works compared to high school rodeo, and as the season progressed, our student athletes just kept getting stronger and stronger.”
The team started with several interested students, and five athletes competed at the first rodeo of the college circuit. In the end, three remained.
“They were all pushing for top spots in the regular season, which was nice because going into the finals, they were sharp, on their game, and knew what to expect,” said Bondaroff.
Talking to the athletes, they have appreciated the opportunity to compete in collegiate rodeo near home.
“It’s a good thing for kids to be able to do right out of high school and it’s great to have a Canadian circuit so kids like myself who didn’t go to the States have a place to rodeo. It was nice to be able to rodeo for a year in Canada,” explained Mills.
“I think it’s great that Northern BC has a rodeo team now. The enthusiasm from Northern Lights College and the Peace Country has been outstanding. Everyone’s really excited to have a rodeo team.”
“It’s really cool to be able to do it right out of your hometown and get that experience,” said Jones.
With the season ending, the program is going to take its time to reflect on the season before.
“We’re taking the time right now that we need to really acknowledge the hard work of our students, our staff, our support that worked together to get us here and have a successful season.”
But the time is now to look towards the future. Mills has signed a letter of intent with Gillette College in Wyoming, while Spiers is one of the most promising young bull riders around, and could have options. It’s possible next year could be a roster full of fresh faces.
– with files from Dillon Giancola