The DSU Heritage Foundation recently teamed with former Dickinson State University football player and rodeo cowboy Rowdy Benson to take the Blue Hawk brand to national heights.
Through a sponsorship with the Foundation, Benson, a 2011 graduate from Morristown, S.D., represented Dickinson State during competition at the Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. DSU Heritage Foundation Development Officer for Athletics and Rodeo Kyle Smith said the sponsorship agreement was a good thing for the university and Benson.
“We saw an opportunity to work together, supporting him on his journey to Las Vegas while also promoting the DSU rodeo brand at the national level,” Smith said. “Rowdy is a great example of what hard work and taking care of the people around you can do for your life.”
Benson has qualified for two Indian National Finals. The Foundation assisted him with travel expenses to the year’s Finals. “I asked them to sponsor me for one event (steer wrestling) at the INFR. We pay our own hotel rooms, fees and stalls, and by the time you get there you might be in the hole $2,000 before you nod your head. They paid my entry fees. If they’re willing, I’d love to keep promoting the school and the program up there.”
Benson left the family ranch to attend DSU on a football scholarship. “I got a scholarship to play football at DSU. Between the scholarship, the rodeo team and the cultural diversity at the school, I didn’t even look at another school,” Benson said.
Benson roped and wrestled his way through college, earning trips to two College National Finals Rodeos for the Blue Hawks.
“That’s what I wanted to do for a living,” Benson said. “My first year, my wife and I had a kid. Working, balancing a wife and new baby, I realized that me doing it for a living would be a pretty scarce living.”
His job as an auctioneer and rancher allows him time to do a little rodeoing on the side, most in smaller circuit and Indian rodeos.
“Rowdy attributes the success he and his family are enjoying now to his time as a Blue Hawk. At the DSU Heritage Foundation, we love hearing about the positive impact that being a Blue Hawk can have on our alumni,” Smith said.