As unpredictable as rodeo is, it came as no surprise to Gillette College rodeo coach Will LaDuke that a couple of his guys were as good in the classroom this past year as they were on bucking horses.
Casey Breuer of Mandan, N.D., and Wyatt Kammerer of Philip, S.D., were recognized Tuesday as academic All-Americans by the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. They are the first two Gillette College rodeo cowboys to earn the honor and were among 51 athletes named
The award goes to student-athletes with a 3.5 cumulative grade point average who also qualified for the 2012 College National Finals Rodeo. “Our team of 20-some kids averaged a 3.2 (GPA) last year. We have a good group that works hard in the classroom and I’m really glad Casey and Wyatt are getting some recognition for it,” LaDuke said.
“It’s fairly common for kids just to go to school for the sports, but we’re doing good and our kids are working just as hard in the classroom as they are in the arena.”
Breuer won the Central Rocky Mountain Region bareback riding championship title this past season. He’s been on the road this summer in the PRCA’s Badlands Circuit, including the Cheyenne Frontier Days. He is studying industrial electricity at Gillette College.
“I’ve been putting the time into it,” said Breuer, who is up in the Deadwood, S.D., rodeo on Thursday. “I know that you can only rodeo for so long and have to have something to fall back on.
“I might as well get the most out of college as I can. There’s a lot I’ve already learned that I’ve been able to use around the ranch when I’m home.”
Kammerer, a college saddle bronc rider, was the 2011 South Dakota state high school steer wrestling champion. He showed the same strong work ethic in the classroom his first year at Gillette College. His major field of interest is welding.
“We have a program that represents the college well and we’re doing it by getting these really good kids,” LaDuke said. “We limited the number of rodeo kids to 25, which most schools don’t do. But we get the pick and choose the right people. Because of that, we have a the true meaning of student athletes.”