SPEARFISH — Black Hills State University’s rodeo team will host the Will Lantis Yellow Jacket Stampede this week for the first time since 2019.
This year’s Stampede is slated for Thursday through Saturday, at Seven Down Arenas south of Spearfish. The COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the 2020 event.
Two rodeos will be featured in that three-day time frame. Black Hills State head coach Glen Lammers said this is to ensure Great Plains Region schools are able to have 10 rodeos.
The first rodeo features one go-round, with no short go. That begins at 7 p.m. Thursday; slack follows this performance and resumes at 10 a.m. Friday to end the first rodeo.
A second rodeo begins at 7 p.m. Friday, with slack to follow. Slack for that rodeo continues at 10 a.m. Saturday. The short go-round begins at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Admission costs are $10 for adults, and $5 for students aged 5 to 18. Children aged 6 and under get in free.
Social distancing and mask usage within the 6-foot distance are encouraged. Hand sanitizer will be available at the door and in common areas.
This rodeo was permanently renamed in memory of Will Lantis in 2007.
Lantis was a strong supporter of the Yellow Jacket program before losing his life in a vehicle accident in 2006.
Competition in the spring portion of the season begins following a fall portion in which three of the six scheduled rodeos proceeded.
The Yellow Jacket women’s team leads the Great Plains Region standings at 2,276.67 points. Black Hills State is fifth in the men’s standings at 1,525 points.
A number of Yellow Jacket athletes hold top-eight spots in the region.
Tayle Brink of Black Hills State is first in women’s all-around, third in breakaway roping, and third in goat tying. Taylor Hanson holds the top spot in barrel racing. Cashae McGee is fourth in this event, with Emilee Pauley fifth and Sydney Theobald sixth.
Tayla Thorstenson sets fourth in breakaway roping; Chanci Kraft is seventh. Karli Verhulst (fourth place), Riley Donnelly (sev enth), and Savana Johnston (eighth) also represent the Yellow Jackets in the goat tying standings.
Courtney Peters enters the week eighth in the breakaway roping standings.
Collin Palmer is second in the tie down roping standings.
Tayte Goodman holds the fourth spot in saddle bronc riding. Mason Bice (second place) and Chandler Comfort (fourth) represent Black Hills State in the team roping heeler standings.
Riley Staton is eighth in tie down roping.
“We had a good start to our fall season,” Lammers said. “We definitely had a longer off-season due to circumstances, and that gave us a lot of prep time.”
Spring season preparation includes simulating scenarios athletes may encounter in competition.
Lammers said team members make sure they are healthy coming to practice.
Black Hills State was to begin its spring season April 9-10 at the Jackrabbit Stampede in Brookings, but COVID-19 restrictions forced cancellation.
Lammers said team members have coped well with the delay.
“It’s been a different year in a lot of ways,” Lammers said. “It gives you a chance to adapt and figure out how to come up with solutions rather than focusing on the problem.”
The main solution centered on hosting a second rodeo, according to Lammers. He added that the Yellow Jacket Stampede is very special to the program.
“Our student-athletes are really hungry to compete right now,” Lammers said. “Being at the home arena provides advantages like fans’ energy and the team not having to travel great distances.”
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