A team of rodeo athletes from BC’s Dawson Creek have ridden to victory in the Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Championship in Brooks, Alberta. The team hails from Northern Lights College and is the province’s only collegiate rodeo team.
The young riders brought it home May 19-21, winning three Canadian championship belt buckles in pole bending, steer wrestling, and tie-down roping.
“We’re proud. We’re exhilarated. There’s absolute amazement,” Leanne Esau, manager of athletics and community engagement at Northern Lights College, told CBC news. “These are high-level sports. These athletes have the aspiration to go pro.”
Like other college sports – think football and basketball – Northern Lights College offers future rodeo pros full scholarships. But that’s not the only bonus for students looking to get their academic education before they turn pro. The campus offers a unique perk for its cowboy and cowgirl students; housing in a seven-bedroom house complete with access to on-site stabling, outdoor ring complete with roping boxes.
The winning riders included tie-roping champ Bryce Garcia and pole bending champ Amber Wollen, part of the 16-member squad that makes up the Northern Lights team. In keeping with the growing popularity of rodeo and of BC’s team, it was announced in May that Northern Lights College will host the province’s first-ever intercollegiate rodeo in the fall.