MPCC Rodeo Team members receive scholarships

hurlburt and haren
Saturday, February 12, 2022

Paying for college just got a little bit easier for several members of the Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team.

The athletes were recognized Saturday night in front of a packed house at the team’s fundraising scholarship banquet at the Ramada Inn in North Platte.

Jacob Haren, of Erie, Colo., and Jentri Hurlburt, of Arcadia, were the recipients of $1,000 Dual Excellence scholarships presented by The Wranglers, the official booster committee for the MPCC Rodeo Team.

Dual Excellence scholarships are presented every year to rodeo team members who excel in both the arena and the classroom. The awards are based on points earned at National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association competitions and grade point average.

The $500 Bob Hoyt Memorial Scholarship went to Dalton Kunkee, of Lexington. It was provided by Young’s Western Wear and the Weber family in Valentine in memory of Bob Hoyt, of McCook. Hoyt was a tremendous asset to the rodeo team. He could often be found running the roping chute during practices, mentoring the athletes and volunteering in a number of other roles.

Makana Kaapana, of Kailua, Hawaii, received a $500 Ben Marlin Memorial Scholarship, which was new to the banquet this year.

Marlin was born in Broken Bow and raised in Mason City. He taught for a while then became a pharmaceutical sales rep for various veterinarian companies in Nebraska, South Dakota and California. After retiring, he moved to Glenwood, N.M. and became a big game guide and outfitter for 25 years. The scholarship in his honor was donated by Marlin’s daughter, Melissa Brouillette, of North Platte.

A Garrett Nokes Memorial Scholarship was also announced at the banquet in honor of former MPCC rodeo team coach Garrett Nokes who passed away in February of 2021. The scholarship was presented by Garrett’s wife, Laura, and sons, Trevor and Parker.

It was designated for graduates of MPCC who opt to continue their education at four-year institutions. Those alumni are: Katrina Webster, of North Platte; Sterling Lee, of Rhame, N.D.; Landon Sivertsen, of Ree Heights, S.D.; Weston Kunkee, of Callaway; Jaycee Wooters, of Elwood, and Austin Madison, of Whiting, Iowa.

The NIRA plans to award a similar “Nothin’ But Heart” scholarship in memory of Garrett during this year’s College National Finals Rodeo. The funds will be given to a CNFR competitor, nominated by other contestants, who demonstrates incredible “heart and sportsmanship” in and out of the arena.

In addition to the scholarship presentations, the banquet included live and silent auctions, a prime rib dinner, recognition of outgoing Wranglers member Mary Lister and entertainment by Colorado musician and comedian Randy Mac.

Team jackets were presented to Kunkee; Kaapana, Rex Day, of Bartlett; Kalyn Nielsen, of Verdigre; Casey Reis, of Grand Island; Benjamin Steele, of North Platte; Maggie Underhill, of Hill City, Kan.; Kaden Wooters, of Elwood; Tymerie Steinhauer, of Sutton, and Kenneth Shelbourn, of Valentine.

The students earned the jackets through their fundraising efforts and work producing the MPCC Stampede last fall.