RIVERTON – Last Saturday was a momentous day in the history of Central Wyoming College (CWC) and its Rustler Rodeo Team, along with the rest of Riverton, as the opening of the new Ag & Equine Center took place just off campus by Roy Peck Field.
The new center, spanning 22 acres on the north side of the CWC campus, cost $18 million and will now be the featured home of the Rustlers’ prolific rodeo team during the winter as well as the rest of the year. There are two arenas, the main arena for practices and future rodeo sites and the dressage arena for equine training.
Coach Drew Schrock (below) has been the head of the Rustler Rodeo team for a decade now and has been campaigning for years for CWC to build a center, or “barn” as he likes to call it, and now he has his wish.
“I’ve been selling [this] for years and years watching all these other colleges get new barns and I just always said ‘shoot, we’ve got good weather here in Fremont County and we’re outside most of the year,’” Coach Schrock said with a smile at the grand opening. “This is going to be a huge change for us.”
While Schrock was thankful for the new home of his team, he reminded everyone that this past winter was one of the worst in the history of Riverton and Fremont County but that the Rustler Rodeo team’s spirits never diminished because they saw what was on the horizon.
“Last winter was a long winter and we’ve seen this new barn up here and we couldn’t get in it … We were in that old building [and] it was hard to take it,” Coach Schrock said.
Now Coach Schrock and his star-studded team of Rustlers have their nice, new facility that stands tall over many other barns around the state, and the country for that matter.
“There’s only two colleges in this region that have horses on campus and keep everything on campus, us and LCCC,” Coach Schrock explained. “Their facility is nice but this is state-of-the-art and I’ll guarantee there are probably only a handful of facilities that are this nice in the whole nation, so we’re a step up on everybody.”
CWC and Schrock are hopeful that this new facility will not only bring in more revenue during rodeos and throughout the season, but they also hope that this will put them on a larger scale while recruiting new riders and ropers.
“Honestly it’s pretty neat for the team that we have this … and then for recruiting it’s going to be huge,” Coach Schrock said. “The college has always been great about backing the rodeo program and now we have a facility that shows it and will back that too, so we’re excited.”
This upcoming season for the Rustler Rodeo team will be filled with familiar faces thanks to the four-year programs and the experience that will be rocking the orange-and-white emblems of CWC. There’s returning winners like Clay Reiner (above) and Dustin Thompson who “want to be part of this barn” but there’s also some “really strong freshmen” and the third-year starter and team captain Kall Mayfield who had a busy summer wrestling steers.
Not only that, the women’s side of the Rustler Rodeo team looks to be stacked with talent like Kevi Broncho, Kylee Jo Washakie and Kendell Williams, or as Coach Schrock likes to call them, the “Triple K.” “They did a lot of winning last year,” Coach Schrock said about the three girls.
Suddenly, the CWC rodeo team no longer has to work outside campus and they can continue practice no matter what the weather looks or feels like. This could end up being just the advantage they need to prop themselves up as one of the best rodeo teams in the state, and maybe even the country.
BY: Shawn O’Brate