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Black Hills State University honors Rodeo Hall of Fame inductees

Black Hills State University honored five rodeo hall of fame inductees during the recent Cowboys and Candlelight Dinner held in conjunction with the Will Lantis Yellow Jacket Stampede. Left to right, Mary Ellen Lantis, Dick Cummings, Shari Simmons Johnson, and Tom Miller were honored as the inaugural inductees for the BHSU Rodeo Hall of Fame 2011.

Black Hills State University honored five rodeo hall of fame inductees during the recent Cowboys and Candlelight Dinner held in conjunction with the Will Lantis Yellow Jacket Stampede.

Dick Cummings, Mary Ellen Lantis and the late Will Lantis, Shari Simmons Johnson, and Tom Miller were honored as the inaugural inductees for the BHSU Rodeo Hall of Fame 2011.
Cummings grew up on a ranch near Devil’s Tower, Wyo. He served as advisor and coach to the Rodeo Club from 1965 to 1986, while still meeting the duties of a full-time professor of economics at Black Hills State. During this time both men’s and women’s teams consistently had high placings, many championships in the region and placed at the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) finals.

Today’s rodeo program at Black Hills State would not be possible without Will and Mary Ellen Lantis. Will met with a prospective rodeo student and discussed his dreams of having an active rodeo program once again at BHSU. Will and Mary Ellen agreed to allow the rodeo students the use of their indoor facility for practice and horse boarding throughout the academic year. Will has since passed away, but he and Mary Ellen have created an invaluable opportunity for student athletes by allowing them the use of their facility, helping to create a scholarship fund and supporting the team in fundraising endeavors.

Simmons Johnson graduated from Black Hills State with a degree in elementary education in 1984. In 1981 and 1984 Shari was crowned the goat tying national champion at the College National Finals. She now resides in Gillette, Wyo.

Miller attend Black Hills State from 1968-1971. While in college he qualified for the NIRA finals four times and was a two time all-around national champion. In 1970 and in 1971 Miller won the bareback riding, saddlebronc riding and all around titles at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR). After college He went on to professional rodeo and he qualified for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) six times. He won the saddle bronc average at the NFR in 1975, 1979 and 1981. He was runner up to the world champion in the saddle bronc in 1979 and 1981. Miller currently ranches near Red Owl and also in Texas with his wife Vivian.

“BHSU has a rodeo program history that spans nearly 50 years, and was decided it was time to recognize individuals who have had a major impact on the rodeo program by creating the BHSU Rodeo Hall of Fame,” said Glen Lammers, BHSU rodeo coach.

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