Giddy up, Wildcats

Jamii Freston
A competitor attempting to stay on their horse’s back as it tries to buck them off at the Ogden Rodeo. Taken in July 2014.

Traveling back from the Snow College Rodeo in Salina, Utah, Weber State University’s rodeo team will compete at the Golden Spike Event Center from March 24-25.

“If you’re going to this school, you should at least try to show up and see what the whole deal is about for a Weber State team,” Wildcat rodeo club president Caleb Montgomery said. “It’s really important if you’ve never been to anything like that — you might want to show up and just see what it’s all about.”

Coached by Nathan Wycherley, the Wildcats will participate in five rodeos this spring and five in fall. Weber State is a member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and competes in the Rocky Mountain region.

While at Golden Spike, Montgomery said Weber State will compete against the College of Southern Idaho, Idaho State University, Snow College, Colorado Mesa University, Utah Tech University, Southern Utah University, Utah Valley University, Utah State University and Colorado Northwestern Community College.

The rodeo will consist of bareback riding, tie down roping, breakaway roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, goat tying, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding.

A club with six juniors and one senior, the Wildcats’ men’s team currently sits at No. 5 in the region with 1,695.00.

Looking at tie down roping, Weber State’s standouts include Drake Wycherley, who’s No. 2 in the region with 485 points, and Jed Archibald, who’s ninth with 170 points. Competing in team roping as well, Archibald is No. 5 in the region with 270 points, and Garrett Hershberger sits at No. 15 with 95 points.

After winning at Southern Idaho’s rodeo on March 10-11, Wildcat Cooper Stokes leads the Rocky Mountain region in the steer wrestling event with 535 points.

A sport that requires years of practice, Montgomery said he’s been involved with rodeos since he was 5 years old.

“Most of us are like, ‘We’ve been doing it throughout high school and even before that,’” Montgomery said. “Most of us know what we’re doing.”

While the athletes have gone through extensive training, Montgomery said that one thing new rodeo spectators have a hard time getting used to is the amount of injuries.

“People get hurt a lot easier in this than a lot of other sports,” Montgomery said. “By the end of the season, you’re all bruised up and everything hurts. You’ve got to just realize things can go wrong really fast if you don’t keep your body healthy.”

Montgomery is currently dealing with knee issues. His previous injuries have included concussions, a bruised quad and rope burn on his hands.

Outside of personal wear, Montgomery said riders have to consider the health of their horses during a season.

“By the end of the season, you’ve got to kind of give your horses a break,” Montgomery said. “It’s like, I guess, any human being — if you got that many back-to-back, you get beat up and bruised.”

The Golden Spike rodeo will mark the third competition of 2023 for the Rocky Mountain region. The competitions will be on March 24 at 7 p.m. and March 25 at 6 p.m. Adult tickets are priced at $6 with student’s and children’s priced at $3.

“You’ve got to take a chance on the lifestyle,” Montgomery said. “You’ve got to see what we’ve been working at just like any other sport.”