Two Lakeland Alumni To Compete At National Finals Rodeo
Two of Lakelands alumni family will be heading to Las Vegas in December to compete in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR).
Scott Guenthner, who finished his regular rodeo season in 7th place with $74,953 will compete in the steer wrestling competition, this will be the fourth time in his career. Guenthner is a livestock production alumnus.
Guenthner who is a class of 2021 alum says that it is a dream come true and implied that it is everyone’s dream and that it is not an easy goal to make.
“The first time is of course a huge deal, but even after, it’s a big deal. It’s still hard work, it isn’t an easy road,” say Guenthner who went on to say, that every day, you just have to grind through it, and then you get there and it’s the best of the best. The first night you ride into the arena, the hair on the back of your neck stands up- it’s so loud.
Kolby Wanchuk will join Guenthner at the NFR for the first time in his career. Wanchuk will compete in the saddle bronc riding and finished his season this year in 8th place with a total of $86,859. Wanchuk is a class of 2017 heavy oil and power engineering alumnus and said that it’s tough to say what the most exciting part of the NFR will be.
“The bright lights are a whole different experience. It’s the best-bucking horses in the world, the loudest crowd in the world, and I’m going to have a lot of family and friends coming down. I’m really looking forward to the entire experience, it’s like no other rodeo,” said Wanchuk. He also went on to say that he would like to thank Lakeland College and the Lakeland rodeo team for all the great practices and lessons that he learned in the Rustlers arena.
It’s the first time Guenthner will be competing alongside a fellow Lakeland graduate and he’s excited about what his and Wanchuk’s accomplishments say about Lakeland’s rodeo program.
“It just goes to show that you can still make it to the NFR without going to the United States for school,” Guenthner says. “You can stay in Canada, close to home, attend a Canadian college, and still make it to the world finals.”
Geoff Brown, Lakeland’s dean of agricultural sciences states that it has been great to watch both Guenthner and Wanchuk’s journey from college students running steers and riding broncs in the college’s Equine Centre, to living their dream on the most prestigious rodeo stage in the world.
“Both Scott and Kolby were culture builders on the Lakeland Rustlers Rodeo Team and they serve as great examples to our students with regard to what is possible with hard work and dedication. There aren’t many Canadian college rodeo programs that can say they have two alumni competing at the NFR. It is pretty cool,” said Brown.
The NFR is the world’s richest and most prestigious rodeo. The top 15 contestants in the world in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding compete to take home their share of a multi-million dollar purse. The event runs Dec. 2-11.