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Rodeo Coach Iola “Olie” Else Honored at College National Finals Rodeo

June 14, 2018

University of Montana Western Rodeo Coach, Iola “Olie” Else, was recognized as “Coach of the Year” at the College National Finals Rodeo on June 13, 2018. She has been involved with the Montana Western Rodeo Team and Club for the past 50 years and will be retiring from coaching at the end of June.

Olie Else

The award was given to Else because of her continuous dedication and support while helping rodeo athletes excel in their education and achieve their competition goals.

June 13, 2018 was declared “Iola Else Day” in Casper, Wyo., by Mayor Ray Pacheco, for her successful career at the University of Montana Western not only for her teams ranking in the top 10 in the National Collegiate Rodeo Association every year, but also for her passion for helping improve the lives of her students.

“True success for her is when her students- “her kids” – are able to become better people along the way and inherit the desire to make a difference,” read the proclamation from the office of the Mayor.

Else also received the 2018 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Coach of the Year award and is not only the only woman to have received this achievement, but also the only coach to receive the award twice. She first received the award in 2004.

“The thing about Olie, it didn’t matter what level of talent you had coming into the program, she always made you feel like a champion in the arena and the classroom. She has a way of pulling the best out of people,” said Taylor Nahrgang, in an article in the CNFR 2018 program.

Nahrgang, a UMW alumnus who graduated with a business and marketing degree is now the Partnership Marketing Manager at Ariat International and was the 2010 NIRA student president and a champion steer wrestler, according to the article.

Iola “Olie” Else was born in Salmon, Idaho and grew up in Tendoy where her parents ran the Tendoy Store. She attended school there through sixth grade and then went to Leadore for junior high and high school. Else graduated from Leadore High School in 1969 and went to WMC that fall. She competed in barrel racing, breakaway, team roping, and goat tying. She was Homecoming Queen in 1971, runner up for Miss Western in 1971, and Miss Rodeo Idaho in 1973, going on to compete for Miss Rodeo America. She was a member of the Central Board and student government, Spurs (a service organization), a Resident Assistant and manned the college switchboard.

Else was the faculty advisor for Montana Western Rodeo and took over as head coach in 1994.

Seven rodeo team members including Tristan Hansen, Kelly Murnion, Connor Murnion, Anna Hasper, Marlee Mussmann, Tess Turk, and Torri Lewis advanced to this year’s CNFR competition which concludes on June 16, 2018.

For more information and event results, visit