The History of T-Bird Rodeo

Few college rodeo programs anywhere have the kind of tradition enjoyed by Casper College. With four national team championships and three more finishes in the top three during the past 40 years, Casper College ranks among the most successful programs in the country. Former T-Bird cowboys have gone on to no less than 16 professional titles.

Dale Stiles was the man who started it all. Over 60 years ago, he hosted the first Casper College rodeo. It was the first time a junior college had fielded a rodeo team, let alone hosted its own rodeo. Through the years, Stiles would coach some of the sport’s greatest stars, and become a legend himself.

Perhaps the most famous cowboy ever to wear the red and white hailed from Cora, Wyoming, a post office town just west of Pinedale, Wyoming, Joe Alexander, later dubbed “Alexander the Great” by the late Red Smith, a columnist for the New York Times newspaper, is considered the top bareback rider of all time.

Alexander rode for Casper College in 1965 and 1966, helping CC to national championships both years. He was a national collegiate bareback champion in 1965. But it was his accomplishments after leaving Casper College that landed him a spot in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Champions in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Alexander racked up 13 consecutive appearances in the National Finals Rodeo (NFR). He collected five world championships and more than $500,000 in career earnings, the first bareback rider to top the half million plateau in earnings.

There are many other famous cowboys who have worn the Casper College red vests. Dave Brock, Jim Davis, Chris LeDoux, and Kelly Timberman all went on to win professional titles. Others include Hank Franzen, Pink Peterson, Ivan Daines, J.C. Bonine, T.J. Walter, Jay Himes, Ned Londo, Skeeter Thurston, Shawn Madden, Guy Shapka, Mike Moore, and Bryce Miller.

Brock, who won the world calf roping title in the 1970s and now lives in Texas, credits Stiles for much of his success. “He set a high level of competition and I responded to it,” said Brock, another member of the half million club. Brock was Rookie of the Year in 1972, won the world in 1978, and 10 times finished among the top eight calf ropers in the world.

LeDoux, who passed away in 2005, is best known today for his music. But others remember his brilliant performance in the 1975 NFR, where he won the world bareback riding championship.

Franzen might have been the best all-around athlete ever to rodeo for Casper College. He proved that in 1978, when he won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) All-Around Championship at Bozeman, Montana. Franzen also won the collegiate bull riding title that year. Casper College finished runner-up for the team title, largely due to Franzen, who is now a top stock contractor.

Davis is a two-time world champion in steer roping. Shapka won the NIRA saddle bronc title twice. Moore is a multiple qualifier to the NFR in bull riding.

Timberman is the latest CC world champion, having won the world bareback title in 2004.

The tradition of Casper College rodeo goes far beyond the names in the record book. Casper College prides itself in being the first junior college to sponsor a rodeo, and the first junior college to win a team championship. Casper was also the first to win four consecutive team titIes.

 

Team Champions (points)

   

1963

Men’s Team

N/A

National Champions

1964

Men’s Team

1,225

National Champions

1965

Men’s Team

775

National Champions

1966

Men’s Team

460

National Champions

1967

Men’s Team

331.5

3rd Overall

1971

Women’s Team

157.5

4th Overall

1978

Men’s Team

N/A

2nd Overall

1983

Men’s Team

570

3rd Overall

2011

Men’s Team

470

7th Overall

       

Men’s All-Around (points)

   

1964

Pink Peterson

1,356

National Champion

1965

Pink Peterson

1,327

National Champion

1972

Jan Christian

1,004

National Champion

1978

Hank Franzen

1,530

National Champion

2012

Zachariah Phillips

130

9th

2015

Neil Williams III

130

5th

       

Steer Wrestling (time)

   

1963

Rod Prewitt

368.5

 4th

1986

Scott Selland

26

 8th

2005

Garrett Henry

30

 6th

2011

Riley Krassin

28.3

 6th
       

Bull Riding (score)

   

1963

Denny Wall

406

 2nd

1978

Hank Franzen

598

 1st

2015

Drew Antone

71.5

 8th
       

Bareback (score)

   

1964

Pink Peterson

631

 1st

1965

Claude Wilson

553.5

 1st

1966

Joe Alexander

518

 1st

1967

Joe Alexander

565

 2nd

1967

Ivan Daines

365.5

 5th

1968

Chris LeDoux

433.5

 4th

1970

John Sloan

508.5

 2nd

1970

Scotty Platts

406

 5th

1972

Larry Brown

441.5

 5th

2000

Kelly Timberman

289

 7th

2011

Justin Moldaschel

308

 3rd

2011

Chance Madsen

281.5

 9th

2014

Zachariah Phillips

226

 10th

2015

Dantan Bertsch

287.5

 6th

2015

Neil Williams III

225.5

 10th
       

Saddle Bronc (score)

   

1964

Pink Peterson

539

 2nd

1964

Denny Wall

504

 4th

1965

Pink Peterson

609

 1st

1965

Ned Londo

502

 2nd

1966

Ivan Daines

651

 1st

1967

J.C. Bonine

577

 2nd

1967

Ivan Daines

509

 4th

1974

Jack Duce

604

 2nd

1979

Hank Franzen

642

 4th

1982

Guy Shapka

687.9

 2nd

1982

Skeeter Thurston

572

 5th

1983

Guy Shapka

708

 1st

1983

Larry Pearle

606.5

 4th

1987

Tom Meiers

565

 6th

1991

Nels Bowen

529

 3rd

1997

Judd Schomp

215

 10th

2001

Bryce Miller

284.5

 3rd

2011

Ray Meiers

223.5

 9th
 
   

Team Roping (time)

   

1987

Scott Selland

305

 3rd

2003

Chad Braun

61.2

 4th

2009

OJ Huxtable

32.8

 2nd
       

Calf Roping (time)

   

1966

Doug Hough

411

 4th

1971

Dave Brock

431.5

 4th
       

Ribbon Roping (score)

   

1971

Dave Brock

486

 1st
       

Barrel Racing (time)

   

1971

Debbie Taylor

591.5

 4th
       

Break-Away Roping (time)

   

1969

Pam Cuthbertson

476

 4th

1995

Shannon Treadway

7.70

 10th

2002

Willow Nicholas

11.2

 3rd

2005

Willow Nicholas

22.4

 6th