Four cowboys making rodeo history
HUMBOLDT – Although Iowa is not known as a hot-bed of profession-grade rodeo talent, four of its native cowboys are making state history by qualifying for the Wrangler National Rodeo Finals, in Las Vegas.
The finals begin Thursday and continue through Dec. 13.
The four competitors, each of whom were ranked within the top 15 prize earners in their event, are Cole Edge, of Humboldt, in steer wrestling; Kollin Von Ahn, of Sac City, in team roping; Wade Sundell, of Boxholm, in saddle bronc; and Tim O’Connel, of Zwingle, in bareback riding.
Edge’s mother, Melanie Edge, said a few cowboys have represented Iowa in the national finals, but never by four at once.
Cole Edge went professional in 2009 after a successful record in collegiate rodeo.
According to Melanie Edge, her son has paid his dues in earning his first trip to the finals as a competitor.
In 2010, Edge said, Cole was ranked in the top 15 when he broke his collarbone.
In 2011, he finished in the top 25, a successful year, but not the gold ring of making the finals.
In 2012, he had a good start, but a freak accident left him with a broken wrist requiring immediate surgery, and he was out for the season.
In 2013 he wasn’t having much success early on and dropped from competition to get healthier and continue rehabilitating his wrist.
In 2014, he finished the season ranked 14th overall and will go to finals as a competitor.
“He’s persevered,” Melanie Edge said. “He stayed positive. He never lost scope of what he wants to do.
“I look up to him for that.”
Edge co-owns Edge Western Wear in Humboldt and Ames, and has a retail presence at rodeo events around the nation, including the national finals.
She said she’d often been told at the finals that her son should be competing and that someday it would happen.
“They knew it and he (Cole) knew it,” Edge said, “and I hoped it for him.
“But now we all know he belongs there.”
She said her son gave up football and baseball to start competing in high school rodeos, along with Von Ahn and Sundell.
Edge said Cole was encouraged by Von Ahn to try rodeo as a junior.
They went to Southeastern Oklahoma State University together.
Edge finished third in the collegiate rodeo finals in 2007. That year he was co-champion at the Dayton (Iowa) Championship Rodeo and finished 61st in the world standings with $16,683.
According to the NFR website, CBS Sports Network will be broadcasting the entire rodeo live.
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