Feb 7, 2019
Panhandle State has come out on top of several challenges over the past year in the pandemic, but this spring semester, the community was affected by two separate tragedies involving members from the Livestock Judging Team and the Rodeo Team. The Aggie Nation has shown true strength through the heartbreaking loss of three inspiring men over the past two months.
University President, Dr. Tim Faltyn stated, “This has been a difficult season of life for all us. These boys meant so much to our campus and the surrounding communities. It’s true, every day is a good day to be an Aggie, even when we don’t understand or, are sad and frustrated. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with the families of those we have lost their loved ones this spring. While they may not be with us anymore, those we have lost live on in the best parts of who we are as individuals and as a community. Our try, our character, our grit, and our intelligence are them shining through us as we overcome the adversity of not just this day, but every day! Our best days are reflections of positive impact they’ve had on us and the world around us.”
OPSU was notified of the loss of Lukas Simmons on the morning of February 10th, 2021. Lukas had transferred from Eastern Wyoming College of Torrington, Wyoming, to become a member of the OPSU Livestock Judging Team.
Lukas was a bright young man who left an unforgettable impression on his teammates and friends with his humble and witty personality. Simmons grew up showing lambs, pigs, goats, mini horses, a catch-a-calf, ducks, and even cats and a fish. He had a love for livestock and a passion for judging; he was always excited to talk about judging and to compete in contests. Although he was as competitive as they come, Lukas was also the first to greet you with a friendly hug and warm hello. His family, friends, and peers have remembered the laughs he gave them and look forward to seeing that incredible smile again.
Panhandle State started to find their new normal without Lukas when another horrific accident happened on March 26th, 2021.
A life-changing wreck involving three of the Panhandle State Rodeo Team members and their horses occurred on the way to Garden City College Rodeo. The accident resulted in the loss of Cinch Bullock and Hadly McCormick. There were two horses lost in the wreck, which were both Cinch and Hadly’s head horses. The third person, Ira Dickinson, was taken to the hospital with a concussion and minor abrasions.
Cinch was a strong-willed young man that always saw the positive in life. He grew up on his family’s ranch in Campo, Colorado, where his love for horses and rodeo was second nature. Bullock was a freshman on the OPSU Rodeo Team, but he was no stranger to the winning tradition. He watched his older siblings compete in the Panhandle State vest, and it was his dream to wear that same vest. Cinch loved to rope calves and always made sure his horses had the best of the best. He lost his head horse, Gocho, in the accident with him.
Hadly was a young man always willing to learn and help out where needed. He grew up in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on his family’s ranch, which gave him a love for horses. McCormick attended Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyoming, before transferring to OPSU to become an Ag teacher. He was talented in shaping the minds of the younger generation, which was apparent by those that he was student teaching at Stratford High School. Hadly loved to rope calves and watch the athleticism of horses showcased. In the accident, Hadly lost his head horse, Buck.
Panhandle State continues to honor these three incredible young men by living lives they would be proud of. The Aggie Family has pulled together in the most trying times and shown what it is to be, Panhandle Strong.
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