2018 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association RAM truck giveaway
The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) give away a RAM 2500 truck to a college rodeo student every year. Competing students are entered into a draw to win the truck. NIRA Commissioner Roger Walters pulls out a name during a drawing (with witnesses present) and the truck is presented to the winner at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, WY. The CNFR is the big daddy of College Rodeo. It’s a week-long event that takes place, this year from, June 8th to the 16th at Casper Events Center. This year’s lucky winner is Caitlyn Wiswell and it’s a good job she won! We arranged to meet for this interview, and upon initial introductions, I asked her, “how excited are you to win this truck?” Looking back at the truck she arrived in, said,
“I am super excited. Especially since I have to bum rides from rough stock riders to get around.”
Caitlyn is currently a student at Oklahoma Panhandle State University (OPSU) studying Biology with a view to having a future in the medical field, “..after I graduate with a bachelors in Biology I’m going to apply to nursing school and med school. I might apply to vet school, I have another year yet, just kinda wanna get all my ducks in a row before I decide.” She is a breakaway roper and team roper. During the College National Finals Rodeo Caitlyn will be competing in the breakaway roping. She has already competed twice in the finals and will be competing again on Fri evening.
I asked her how did she get started in rodeo and she explained that her dad team roped and her mom ran barrels, “…and I’ve always liked the sport, what’s there not to like. Be outside and rope, just been craving it ever since. It’s a lot of fun.” I asked, why not barrel racing? Caitlyn replied, “…unless you make your own barrel horse, they tend to be super expensive and it’s hard to compete at a collegiate level in the barrel racing. In the breakaway roping, I made my own horse and it was easier to compete at that level. I would love to run barrels it’s just hard to afford a nice horse, that or make a nice one, but I have not made a nice barrel horse yet.”
The reaction to winning
In her spare time, Caitlyn takes in outside horses, rides colts and helps out with day work at local ranches. She was working at a ranch when she got the call.
“I actually almost didn’t answer the phone. We were gathering bulls for my boss and my phone rang, I was like, Wyoming? I was gonna decline it but I was like, maybe this is important. When he told me I had won a truck I thought It was a prank and I asked him to quit playing a prank on me. I started laughing, then he told me it was commissioner Walters (of NIRA) and I started crying. Because obviously as you can see I don’t have a vehicle that runs right now, so I’ve been bumming a truck and thank goodness my coaches are awesome. I borrowed their truck to go to the vet, to get to the College Finals. This is before we even knew I was winning a truck…so I cried for probably ten minutes.”
We were sitting talking away in the 2018 RAM 2500 truck that Caitlyn will get the keys to, after a parade lap during the Saturday Final Rodeo event.
“This is crazy! I seriously have never been in a new vehicle before, in my life” she says.
“No one in my family has ever owned a new vehicle. Ever” she says with a great big smile. “…two days before I got the phone call, the transmission went out on my pickup. I have an 03 dodge 3500. I feel like, sometimes, things happen when you need it the most.”
She’s looking around inside the truck and says, “and it’s four wheel drive, my last pickup was two-wheel drive, so I’m super excited about that too!”
Caitlyn looked at the mileage on the truck exclaiming, “56 miles…my truck has like 356,000 miles”