Published April 16, 2021
Members of the DC3 rodeo team pose with banners representing two of the three donors who provided the new roping boxes at the DC3 Rodeo Practice Arena. The area businesses involved with the project were Blattner Feedlot Construction & Livestock Equipment, Cowboys ‘N’ Carpenters LLC and Mead Lumber. [Photo by Tyrel Moffitt].
In March, during the Dodge City Community College (DC3) Spring Break, two new L-shaped roping boxes were installed at the north end of the DC3 Rodeo Practice Arena, due to the generosity of three local businesses.
“We had heading and heeling boxes put in,” Erica Edmondson, DC3 Assistant Rodeo Coach, said.
In rodeo, traditionally, on the left-side of the chute is the head box, and on the right-side is the heel box. Therefore, steer wrestlers and headers use the head side; and calf ropers, breakaway ropers, hazers and heelers use the heel side.
The new L-shaped roping boxes at DC3, which are mirror images of each other, are made out of steel pipe and are set in concrete—with the head box on the left (east) side of the chute and the heel box on the right (west).
“They are for the students to back their horses into a corner,” she said. “Before it was just a panel, so it was kind of shaky. Roping horses really need something sturdy to back into.”
Because Edmondson had safety concerns about the shaky, makeshift setup the team had been using for roping boxes, she decided to call her friend, Ellen (Blattner) Henry, at Blattner Feedlot Construction & Livestock Equipment, in Cimarron, to see if they had any leftover pipe the college could “scrape together” for roping boxes.
Instead of just scraping the project together, the owners, Rick and Rhonda Blattner, said they would donate whatever the college needed to do the project right. And after designing a set of boxes for DC3, they delivered metal pipe to the practice arena on March 10.
“They designed our boxes similar to the roping boxes at the Cimarron fairgrounds, which they also put in,” Edmondson said. “So then, we were kind of scrambling, wondering who was going to weld them.”
So Edmondson decided to call up another of her friends, Shawn Downey, who owns Cowboys ‘N’ Carpenters LLC, of Dodge City. She asked him what he would charge to weld the boxes.
Downey, himself a DC3 rodeo team alumnus, told her he was excited about the project, and like the Blattners, he also wanted to donate his company’s services.
“He said he would be out here the next day, and he came out and looked at it,” she said. “And he had someone out two days later, and they had it done that morning, which was March 12.”
In order to complete the project, the roping box posts needed to be set in concrete, she said. So, Downey approached Mead Lumber, of Dodge City, about helping with the project, and Mead donated enough Quikrete concrete mix to set the posts.
Edmondson said she is incredibly grateful for the amazing generosity of the three businesses, and she looks forward to more community partnerships in the future.
“We plan to hang up their banners on the fences. So when people pull in, they recognize them as donors to our school,” she said. “It looks good now when we have recruits come in. And if we have a good-looking facility, that helps bring kids in.”
By Lance ZieschDC3 Media Specialist