Practice makes perfect.
That motto can help explain how the Dickinson State rodeo team is feeling after the university was granted a new outdoor practice arena allowing them to prepare for competitions.
“It’s always a benefit to have the opportunity to practice inside and outside,” Eudell Larsen, head coach of the DSU rodeo team, said. “This new outdoor arena will be a great addition.”
The Blue Hawks have not had an outdoor arena on campus since 2016, due to DSU taking down their previous arena with the intention of replacing the 27-acres with the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, which was later voted by the foundation to be relocated in Medora, ND. However, thanks to donations by the community, the Blue Hawks were able to afford the new practice arena.
“[The donors] saw the vision and they really came through and made sure this happened, because all dollars were raised from gifts outside of the university,” Ty Orton, the executive director for the DSU Heritage Foundation, said. “No university dollars were used to build this arena.”
“I would have loved to have had the library here,” Thomas Mitzel, Dickinson State University president, said. “But what I want is what works best for the community of Dickinson..as long we’re helping the community, as long as we are being a good neighbor to the community, then I’m happy.”
The process may have felt quick, but a lot of work was put into this facility. The all-in-all process, which included being approved by the university and the overall community, took over a year to complete.
“We did not rush those conversations, we wanted to make sure that when we put something in place it would be done with a lot of background and a lot of thought process, and that took some time” Mitzel said. “To me it did not feel like [a year] but I can understand from other people’s point of view, it may have seemed longer.”
Not only will this practice facility help the Blue Hawks rodeo team, but it will also serve as a benefit for the university’s agriculture students as well.
“These practice arenas will really be able to be used not only for rodeo practice, but also for some regular classroom instructions, where they’ll have livestock holding pens," said Director of University Relations Michelle Wilson.
“We can also add more classes,” Mitzel said. “We were limited to only using the indoor arena on campus, and that’s a much smaller stable, now we’re going to have larger spaces outside that we can utilize as well.”
Dickinson State University is happy the 27-acres is being used, and not wasted.
“What I didn’t want, is just to leave that 27 acres open and empty and not do anything to help, we had an arena there before, we thought we were going to have a library, the library did not work, let’s put back another arena, and even a better [arena,]” said Mitzel.
The outdoor arena is projected to be opened in early October 2019.