Site Located For Northeast Rodeo

Published on: August 27, 2019

 NORFOLK, NE – Clean up is underway on the old rodeo grounds north of Norfolk, home to the new rodeo program at Northeast Community College.

First year rodeo coach Fenton Nelsen said the grounds are along Highway 81, behind GI Trailers. He said the location meets his requirement of being within 10 minutes of campus to keep the animals and students near each other. “They have to feed their horses twice a day, and head out there for practice,” Nelsen said. “Trying to minimize trips and making it convenient helps students be successful in the rodeo arena and also have the time to take care of their academics.”

Nelsen said 18 student athletes signed up for the first year of rodeo at Northeast, and all are from Nebraska, with most from northeast Nebraska. Nelsen said 20 to 25 would be the ideal number of athletes for one coach, but for the first year of a program that only now has a facility, he is pleased with the interest.

The community will see the impact of a rodeo team soon, Nelsen said. “When rodeo kids come to town, they bring a truck, trailer, horses,” he said. “All of those things need to eat, drink, be serviced and maintained.”  Nelsen said students will be buying hay and grain in the area, and horse trailers are notorious for going through tires. Trucks used for towing trailers also use more fuel than the average student vehicle.

Nelsen said rodeo athletes also have unusual responsibilities in the care of their equine partners. “That horse is their livelihood,” he said. “They are why you are getting to come to college, to be in a college rodeo program. They are the reason why you get to go all over the great United States, seeing, doing, meeting people, rodeoing.”

Nelsen explained that college rodeo has two seasons, fall and spring. He says the Northeast team will compete in their first event in River Falls, WI the first weekend of September. He expects the team to take part in nine to 10 regional events, with the college finals in June in Casper, WY. Nelsen said no events are planned in Norfolk this first year, but the Northeast rodeo team will be in competitions as close as Lincoln and Brookings, SD.

Funding for the$23 million project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue.

For more information, contact Northeast Community College Associate Vice President of Development and External Affairs Dr. Tracy Kruse, tracyk@northeast.edu, 402-844-7056. Online donations can be made through the website agwaternexus.com. Checks can be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.

Photo Cutline – Rodeo

Northeast Community College rodeo coach Fenton Nelsen pictured at the rodeo grounds north of Norfolk along Highway 81. (Courtesy Northeast Community College)

Photo Cutline – Arena

The rodeo grounds and arena located north of Norfolk along Highway 81 have been cleaned up in anticipation of the first season of rodeo at Northeast Community College. (Courtesy Northeast
Community College)