Kleeman resigns as Dickinson State's coachWhen Scott Kleeman became the head rodeo coach at Dickinson State, he got out a piece of paper and wrote down a list of goals he and school officials wanted his teams to accomplish in five seasons.
When Scott Kleeman became the head rodeo coach at Dickinson State, he got out a piece of paper and wrote down a list of goals he and school officials wanted his teams to accomplish in five seasons.
When Kleeman’s fifth season as DSU’s coach concluded in June at the College National Finals Rodeo, he looked at the list again. The team had accomplished every objective set for them.
That’s when Kleeman knew his decision to resign as the team’s coach was coming at the right time.
After informing members of the DSU rodeo team in early May that he planned to resign following the CNFR, Kleeman’s five successful seasons as the team’s coach officially ended on June 30.
“I feel I accomplished all my goals I set when I started there and I did it in the time period I set for myself,” said Kleeman a 29-year-old Killdeer native. “Everything is going good and it’s a good time to let somebody else take a shot at it.”
Chip Poland, the chair of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Studies at DSU and the rodeo team’s adviser, said the application deadline for the head coach position is open until Friday but added that the department has already been in contact with at least five “interesting candidates” who have indicated they have or will be applying for the position.
“We’d love to have somebody here before school starts,” Poland said.
Kleeman, a graduate of National American University in Rapid City, S.D. — where he was a three-time CNFR qualifier — became the Blue Hawks’ coach in August of 2004 when he was 23 years old partly because an injury was keeping him from competing in the rodeo arena.
As a bull rider, Kleeman had been bucked and stepped on, suffering a cracked skull.
“I couldn’t rodeo myself and I needed to find something to do,” Kleeman said. “What better way to spend your time except helping other kids be involved in athletics?”
During Kleeman’s tenure, the Blue Hawks remained a nationally recognized college rodeo program, sending numerous contestants to the national finals as both the men and women staked their claims as teams to beat in the Great Plains Region.
In 2008, Kobi Olineck became the Kleeman’s first and only world champion when she tied for the title in the goat tying at the CNFR.
When the 2009 regular season ended, both the Blue Hawk men’s and women’s teams had won their region and were ranked fifth in the nation — allowing Kleeman to check off the only goal remaining on his list: have a team ranked in the national top five.
Justin Miller, a two-time CNFR qualifier and the 2009 Great Plains Region men’s all-around and steer wrestling champion who will be a senior at DSU this fall, said he often considered Kleeman more of a friend than a coach.
“He was always there when we needed him to help us out,” Miller said. “We’re sure going to miss him. I don’t know if they’re going to find someone to dedicate the same amount of time as he did.”
Kleeman said he plans to help the new coach as much as that person needs or wants. He’ll also remain a member of DSU’s rodeo counsel.
“It’s been a good five years,” Kleeman said. “I’m leaving on good terms with the school and the kids.”
Kleeman also plans to delve deeper into competitive rodeo. While he steer wrestles at both amateur and professional events during the summer months, he hopes to attend more rodeos throughout the year while working on his family’s ranch, continue investing in real estate and putting more time into independent projects.
Kleeman has patents pending on two inventions — an on-off switch for five-gallon gas cans and a crane that mounts on the back of livestock trailers to helps load items onto its roof. He’s spending his own money on both projects.
Still, Kleeman said he’ll always cherish the time he spent as DSU’s rodeo coach and admits he’ll miss it.
“There could have been nothing better to do during that time than coach the rodeo team,” Kleeman said. “I think we got stuff accomplished. We had a good five years.”
Hausauer gets back in saddle, wins rodeo and prepares for Cheyenne
In Dusty Hausauer’s return to the rodeo arena after a back injury kept him out of the Calgary Stampede, the Dickinson saddle bronc rider acted as if he’d never taken a break.
Hausauer scored an 85 to earn $3,015 and win the Manitoba Stampede in Morris, Manitoba, over the weekend to keep him in fifth place in the PRCA standings as he and Dickinson’s Shaun Stroh get set to compete in the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo today and Thursday.
“It felt good,” said Hausauer, who added he turned out of two rodeos before going to Morris. “My back felt pretty good and everything’s still not 100 percent, but it definitely felt where I could ride good anyway. It didn’t bother me while I was riding.”
Hausauer is the defending champion at Cheyenne but said this time around Stroh may have the best chance to walk away a winner.
Stroh has struggled lately and has dropped out of the top 15 in the world standings. He’s currently in 22nd place after spending much of the season in 12th or 13th.
However, Hausauer believes Stroh has drawn two stellar broncs, including one the former placed second in a round in Cheyenne last year.
“I’m banking on him (Stroh) to do really good this year,” Hausauer said.
The top ride in Cheyenne is an 80 so far. Several cowboys had a chance to do two rounds back-to-back earlier this week. The top average score with roughly half the bronc riders remaining is a 158 by Jesse James Kirby of Dodge City, Kan.
Monke is the Sports Editor of The Dickinson Press. His Rodeo Notebook appears Wednesday’s during the summer months. He can be reached at 701-456-1213 or at the above listed e-mail address.