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Meet the Rodeo Team Casper College Men’s Rodeo Team
story by Larry Burgess
The Casper College men’s rodeo team, coached by Dale Stiles, dominated college rodeo in the mid-1960’s, winning national championships in 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1966. They were the first two-year institution to win a national championship and the first of any college of any kind to win four consecutive titles.
Three of the current National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, Inc. (NIRAA) board members; Ned Londo, Dick Claycomb and myself; Larry Burgess, are Casper College alumni from that era. Bob Clore, who was a staunch supporter and NIRAA member, and Charlie Winters who recently became a member of NIRAA were also Casper College cowboys who rodeoed for Dale Stiles back then.
The 1963 team members were Dick Claycomb, Larry Hall, Jim Johnston, Bill Mankin, Rod Prewitt and Denny Wall. In 1964, the rodeo team comprised of Roy Jarrard, Jim Johnston, Bill Mankin, Harold “Pink” Peterson, Gordon Steinmiller and Denny Wall. The 1965 team members included: Tom Jarrard, Ned Londo, Wayne Not Afraid, Harold “Pink” Peterson, Gordon Steinmiller and Claude “Whip” Wilson. In 1966, the team included the following athletes: Joe Alexander, Ralph Betz, Ivan Daines, Doug Hough, Tom Larsen and Virgil Lawson.
Individual national college champions during that run included: Harold “Pink” Peterson, Bareback Bronc and All Around in 1964 and Saddle Bronc and All Around in 1965. Ned Londo, Saddle Bronc in 1964, Claude “Whip” Wilson, Bareback Bronc in 1965, Joe Alexander, Bareback Bronc in 1966 and Ivan Dainers, Saddle Bronc in 1966.
Dale Stiles, himself a National Saddle Bronc college champion in 1949, was an outstanding coach. He could be pretty crusty if you were out of line in some way, but he really cared for and supported the young men and women in the Roping and Rigging Club.
The rodeo scholarships from the college only covered tuition. So, cowboys and cowgirls had to come up with their own living expenses. Dale would come up with a rancher who needed help branding or a veterinarian who needed help vaccinating cattle, or if all else failed, he just happened to have a colt that needed riding that he didn’t have time for, or a haystack that he needed moved to the other side of his barn. All of the Casper College Rodeo Athletes from this time still owe him a debt of gratitude for all that he did for them.
Those years at Casper College were a special time for me, the author of this article It’s a privilege to have been a part of it.
According to Claycomb, 1963 team member, “The CC Rodeo Team (61 – 63) was a great group of cowboys and cowgirls. We were all close and good friends. Coach Stiles would get us jobs gathering and shipping cattle on several local ranches. Those were a great two years and are remembered fondly. The friendships that were made and the wonderful times had by all.”
“I credit Dale Stiles with the success of those teams. He recruited talented cowboys and once they got to Casper, he made sure they went to class and had all the support they needed to be successful students as well as athletes,” explained Tom Jarred, a former Casper Cowboy.
I think it was the support we received from Dale that motivated most of us to join the NIRAA. Like other college sports, some of the participants in college rodeo went on to have careers in the professional ranks like; Joe Alexander, Ned Londo, Ivan Daines and Denny Wall from the teams listed above. But the majority of college contestants wound up with careers in other areas. In our case, Dick Claycomb, Gordon Steinmiller, Bob Clore, Claude Wilson, and I became teachers and college professors. Dick went on to be a superintendant of schools as well. Charlie Winters used his education for a career in public service.
Giving support to the current group of college rodeo participants so that they can complete their education for a meaningful future is the sole purpose of the NIRAA. All our dues and scholarship funds raised go directly to students. We hope to give them the means to continue as Dale and other mentors did for us back in our day. Come join us