Dawson Community College Rodeo Coach Rod Paschke has been selected the 2009 Big Sky Region Rodeo Coach of the Year. This year’s selection was made by the eight head coaches from the Big Sky and the Big Sky Regional Staff. Regional Director Del Nose, who is also the head rodeo coach at Northwest College in Powell, WY, commented that “Rod has done a great job with his rodeo teams and his rodeo. He is always lending a helping hand at the other college rodeos.” Paschke, who is in his eighth season as the head coach of the DCC Rodeo Team, received the award at the region’s final rodeo of the year, which took place in Missoula. “This is an honor well-deserved,” stated Nose.
DCC cowgirl Bailee Thompson, a two-year standout in goat tying and breakaway roping, and one of six DCC student athletes to qualify for this year’s College National Finals Rodeo, commented that “Rod is the definition of a ‘coach.’ He pushes us to do our absolute best, not only in the rodeo arena, but also in our academics. He portrays the qualities that a good coach should: he is tough with us, but is encouraging at the same time.” It is clear that Rod maintains a strong and encouraging presence with his team, employing his high standards to drive his student athletes to improve. According to Thompson, “Rod once told me that he isn't perfect, but he expects perfection from his rodeo team. Even though his standards are high, you never have to hang your head around Rod. If you didn't perform well in the arena he will just pat you on the back and say, ‘Oh well, that's just rodeo.’"
Whether it's a bull rider in the chute, a steer wrestler backing in the box or a goat tier about to run down the alley, Rod will be standing there to give his students a few last words of advice. He has a positive approach to coaching and will not tolerate negative attitudes from anyone on the team. Clearly, that approach has made a positive impact on more than a few cowboys and cowgirls over the years. “I will never have another coach like Rod, and I feel lucky to have been part of his college team for the last 2 years. I'm not sure if it was me or Rod that was more excited when I made the college finals! He's been a coach that has taught me a lot about rodeo and life.”
Under Paschke’s direction, the DCC Spring Rodeo held at Glendive’s J&A Arena was recognized as Most Improved in the Big Sky Region. Unlike other rodeos in the region, DCC does not rely on a booster club or community members to run the rodeo. Rather, Paschke uses the event as a teaching tool, allowing his rodeo students to gain valuable experience working all phases of the event, from running gates and raking barrels to loading and sorting cattle. This year students from the DCC Welding Technology program contributed to the Spring Rodeo effort by welding new gates and additional bucking chutes for the arena. These improvements played a role in DCC receiving the award, which included a plaque and cash award.
Over the years, Dawson Community College rodeo has garnered a very positive reputation in the region, due to its many past individual champions and team championships. DCC competes in the Big Sky Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA), which is comprised of seven Montana colleges and one Wyoming college. The season consists of ten rodeos – five in the fall and five in the spring. For more information on the Dawson College Rodeo program, contact Rod Paschke at 406.377.9461. To learn more about DCC athletics, visit www.dawson.edu/athletics  or call the DCC athletic department at 1.406.377.9450.