For the past 10 years, Rod Paschke has been the head coach at Dawson Community College and is currently serving his second year as the Big Sky Faculty Director.
Paschke grew up in Williston, North Dakota. He first attended Casper College, where he was recruited by, “The Great Dale-Stiles”. In his second year at Casper, coach Tom Parker was his mentor. Paschke later transferred to the University of Wyoming, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree, and rodeoed for coach Pete Burns. “I was very fortunate to have great coaches while I was an NIRA member. I really enjoy running into those guys once in a while and taking a stroll down memory lane with them. They were good times,” said Paschke.
Paschke moved to Montana in 1996. Since college, he has continued with steer wrestling and two years ago he started working with a young horse for team roping. He has now reached a point where he is enjoying competing in the team roping event again.
As Faculty Director, Paschke’s strategy is to continue in the same manner as the previous director, Del Nose. “I just want to keep things running smoothly and make sure the students get treated fairly,” said Paschke. “Del had everything pretty well fixed up so now basically my goal is to just keep it going in the same direction.”
Tyler “Chicky” Wines, is a fifth year student at University of Montana, Western, and serving his second year as Student Director. “The experience and knowledge Rod has brought to the region has allowed our rodeos to be some of the best in the Nation. The position as faculty director is a thankless and demanding position; of which Rod has demanded the best out of our students, coaches, and officials in order to continue the success of the Big Sky Region,” said Wines.
Currently, Paschke’s rodeo team is struggling, but he is hopeful that his students will have a handle on things by spring and their luck will turn around for them. In spite of the struggles, Paschke maintains that coaching is very rewarding. “When you see one of your current or past students do well, whether it’s school, the arena, or just simply in life, and knowing that you, as a coach, possibly had something to do with it in some way, shape or form…that is worth everything,” said Paschke. “When the phone rings one day and it is one of your past students and the conversation starts out with, ‘Hey coach, you got a minute?’ or, “Hey coach how you been?’…that is priceless,” Paschke said. “Any time that we as coaches can make a positive difference in how our students live their lives or have an effect on the end product is rewarding.”
Paschke admits there are challenges in coaching as well. One of the big factors has been managing the finances. Raising money has become more difficult, and people seem to be more cautious about giving it up.
In 2006 a longtime dream of Paschke’s came to be. He bought “Sizzlin S Outfitters”, a hunting guide service which specializes in trophy quality mule deer, antelope, and whitetail deer. He had begun working for the company in 2001 and helped it air a show on the Outdoor Channel. The business has had great success ever since and he has made some great friendships with many different people from all over the country. Of course, behind every good man is a great woman and Paschke’s wife, Julie, is that woman. Julie cooks for one of the camps and helps things run smoothly with her organizational skills in the office.
By Judy Kittle, Staff Writer for Collegiate Arena