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Reserve World Champion Cowboy Rides For SDSU

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Justin Zwiefel has been doing rodeo for quite a while.

"I first got involved when I was about 10 years old or so" Zwiefel said, "And we always had horses around on the farm."

Zwiefel's father taught him how to rope and ride, and while he participated in a number of different events he fell in love with one in particular.

"Calf roping's by far my favorite one." Zwiefel said, "That was the main event my dad taught me."

With long hours of practice, the Burt, Iowa native got pretty good at it, winning his first buckle at 14. Zwiefel kept the success coming when he started riding for the South Dakota State University rodeo team and last year, as a sophomore, he found himself competing in calf roping, also known as tie-down roping, at the College National Finals Rodeo.

"That was pretty exciting. I was a little nervous because there were a lot of other kids there," Zwiefel said, "About 40 other kids from different states. And my dad just told me to keep my cool said just go out there like you do any other rodeo and put it together, see what happens."

Zwiefel did just that and wound up winning a reserve world championship. His Jackrabbit teammates couldn't have been happier.

"Justin's one of the most humble guys you're gonna meet." Teammate Danielle Schubert said, "He's nice, honest, he pushes calves just as much as anybody. To see somebody like him, that works so hard, achieve that, it just gives us all hope and encourages us all. We're proud of him."

Now a junior, the agronomy major thinks he can make the next step and take home a world championship buckle.

"I hope to," Zwiefel said, "Every year changes, a lot of different things can happen, depends how you draw and everything, but I hope to get back there and do just as well as I did last year, but a little bit better of course."

Zwiefel is considered one of the top all-around college cowboys in the nation and figures to be headed back to the college national finals rodeo this year. That rodeo takes place June 10th through the 16th in Casper, Wyoming.

Follow KDLT Sports at @KDLTSports and KDLT Weekend Sports Anchor Kolbe Nelson at @KolbeNelson for opinions, links, and updates on Twitter. And don't forget to check out the KDLT Sports Facebook Page
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