SHERIDAN — As Sheridan College head rodeo coach Marc Gilkerson sat at the nightly rodeo in Kaycee, he noticed a young cowboy atop a bucking bronco. The cowboy set his feet and turned his toes. That’s all Gilkerson needed to see to take an interest in the young buck.
That kid with the turned toes was Buffalo saddle bronc rider Mike Burtenshaw. Gilkerson has maintained a relationship with Burtenshaw since that night in Kaycee, and it’s just getting started.
Burtenshaw will continue his rodeo career next year at Sheridan College.
The Buffalo native will join a Sheridan College rodeo team that already thrives in saddle bronc riding. Four Sheridan riders finished in the top 10 in the conference this past season, including Tayte Clark, who earned a spot in the College National Finals Rodeo in June.
Burtenshaw has made a name for himself in the high school rodeo circuit, as well. He currently sits in first amongst Wyoming saddle bronc riders with 132.50 points. He finished second on both days of the Sheridan high school rodeo last weekend.
“He’s a good, hardworking kid,” Gilkerson said of Burtenshaw. “He listens and seeks help. That’s why I like him.”
But on a team that already bolsters some of the best saddle bronc competitors in the region, it’s Burtenshaw’s all-around ability that instills confidence in Gilkerson. The coach said Burtenshaw has some skill in roping, and he has already shown interest in riding bareback.
On the Generals rodeo team, though, it all comes down to competing. Freshmen and sophomores alike, Gilkerson expects every individual to compete as hard as the person next to him.
“My expectations are the same for everyone,” Gilkerson said. “To do their best everyday; try hard. I expect everyone to help and support their teammates.”
Despite their strength in saddle bronc, the Generals only finished eighth in the conference last season. Burtenshaw’s skills will surely be welcomed as the team looks to improve next season. He just has to come in ready to work.
Gilkerson isn’t worried.
“He’s just a good, respectful young man,” Gilkerson said.
Burtenshaw will compete in the final rodeo of the season this weekend in Douglas before the state finals begin on June 10. The High School National Finals Rodeo will take place in Rock Springs from July 12-18.