Roper Review: Travis Ericsson
Hearing the word “cowboy” conjures up a variety of images for most of us. It’s doubtful many can envision Travis Ericsson’s lifestyle. Travis is a […]
Derek Weinreis and Levi O’Keeffe make one heck of a team, whether it’s in the rodeo arena or on the basketball court. The North Dakota cowboys are leading the team roping in the National Standings of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, and their intramural basketball team doesn’t have many losses.
The two are in their third year of roping together and are students at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington. Right now, they’re more than 300 points ahead of the number two team, but Derek isn’t counting his chickens yet. “We try not to look (at the standings.) We still have to rope every steer.”
Derek will graduate next May with a degree in business, and will probably head back home to the Weinreis farm and ranch operation located about an hour south of Beach, N.D. In the summers, he helps with the family business, which involves farms and ranches in several states. He stays busy branding, haying, harvesting, and moving cattle. He also competes in the Wrangler Team Roping Championships, World Series of Team Roping, and U.S. Team Roping Championships.
Levi will also graduate in May, with a degree in ag business. In the summers, he often helps his dad with his fuel business and putting up hay. He is a member of the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association, the Wrangler Team Roping Championships, and the USTRC. He just competed at his first PRCA Badlands Circuit Finals, finishing sixth in the year end standings.
The two not only rope together, they’ve played intramural basketball together the past two years. Their team has done well, except for last year, when Derek and Levi had to miss the first game of the year end tournament, and they lost. Derek says basketball is a lot like team roping: “You can’t do much with one guy.”
They have a good relationship, which makes for a great team. “We’re pretty open with each other,” Levi says. “We sit down and talk about what we need to change, and what the other person needs to change. There are no secrets between us.” For Derek, a positive attitude pervades. “Mainly, not beating ourselves is the most important thing. Whatever we draw, we try to make the best out of (the steer) and go on with it. If you have a steer to be a six on, go be six, and don’t try to be five.”
The cowboys devote a lot of time to practice. Each man saddles four horses, and they’ll run anywhere from 30 to 100 steers nearly every day. In the first four college rodeos this year, they’ve placed second at the first one and won the next three. Last year, they won second at the College National Finals, and the previous year, won second in the Central Rocky Mountain Region.
Derek has two older sisters and an older brother; Levi has two older sisters. Derek’s parents are George and Pam Weinreis. Levi’s parents are David and Lisa O’Keeffe.
Rodeo Newstm (ISSN 1934-5224) is published 12 times a year, semi-monthly May-Nov; once in Dec Jan, Feb., March, and April by Publication Printers, 2001 S. Platte River Drive, Denver, Colo., 80223. Iris Ink, Inc., parent company of Rodeo News is located at 3604 WCR 54G, Laporte, Colo., 80535. Subscriptions are $30 per year. Periodicals postage paid at LaPorte, Colo., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Rodeo News, 1612 Laporte Ave. Suite #2, Fort Collins, CO 80521
Canada Post (CPC) publication #40798037. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without permission. Rodeo News carries advertising and editorials as a service to the readers. However, publication of advertisements and editorials in Rodeo News does not commit Rodeo News to agree with or guarantee any of the merchandise or livestock advertised.