What’s a rodeo team without rodeos to compete in? For the Northern Lights College Rodeo Team, that’s a question they will answer this year as they begin their third season. Though it’s possible there will be a CIRA season in the spring when the second half would typically start, there will be no sanctioned rodeos for the remainder of fall. Still, the 2020-21 team has been training for two the past two weeks and is committed to practicing this fall and being the best they can be regardless of competition.
This year’s team has eight members, the most in the three years (the 2019-20 team had six members). The college was originally expecting 12 cowboys and cowgirls to rope and ride for the team, but the pandemic interfered. Still, an increase of riders during this strange year is a success all the same.
Returning from last season are Keaton Collett, of Beaverlodge, and Cole Harris, from Vancouver Island. They are the team’s 2019-20 All Around Cowgirl and Cowboy of the Year, respectively. Collett has competed in Peace Region rodeos all her life, and is passionate about break away roping and bringing roping events to the women’s side. Harris is a bull rider, who competed in the PBR Alpha Bull event in Dawson Creek last year, his first ever pro-rodeo event. He also enjoys steer wrestling.
Joining Cole this year is his brother Justin Harris, who will compete in bull riding, team roping, tie down roping and steer wrestling. Tyler Bondaroff of Dawson Creek is in her first year of school at NLC but second year on the team, as she competed as a senior at DCSS last year as part of the dual-credit program. Tucker Esau will compete as a high school senior as a dual-credit student with NLC this season.
Rounding out the team are Lexi Snydmiller of Farmington, Murray Hughes of Farmington, and Tianna Tiernan. Rod Keith, Clayton Moore, and Steff Moore will coach the team, with most of the practices taking place on Moore’s ranch near Pouce Coupe.
In addition to its five daily riding sessions, the team’s cowgirls will compete Friday nights at the Lakota Agriplex in Dawson Creek in barrel racing. Overall, this fall will be a busy one for the team even though they won’t be competing.
“The practice schedule alone has them on animals way more than in previous years. That, plus the fact that a lot of the students are taking classes online right now, means the team has a flexible schedule and lots of time to spend at the ranch and on the farm,” said Ashley Pannozzo, NLC’s social media specialist.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.