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Nothin’ But Try Jackpot growing

NFR steer wrestler and college rodeo coach Garrett Nokes is the latest honoree at the Nothin’ But Try Jackpot. This year’s event will take place May 8, 2021, in Coleman, Okla., at the U-Cross Arena. A steer wrestling match between the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Great Plains and Central Plains Region will be held during the jackpot to honor Nokes and his “Nothin’ But Heart” legacy. Courtesy photo

COLEMAN, Okla. — What started as an event to remember steer wrestler Levi Wisness has now grown to honor two more people and be a full-blown day of fun activities. The 2021 festivities will be held in Coleman, Okla., at the U-Cross Arena on May 8.

Organizer Sean Mulligan was a close friend of Wisness. Mulligan knew that a Nothin’ But Try Scholarship honoring Wisness was established through the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Seven years ago, he held the first jackpot to honor his friend and raise money for the scholarship.

In 2015, the event was renamed to mirror the scholarship. Two years ago, a cornhole tournament was added and last year organizers put breakaway roping on the roster. The event is now the Nothin’ But Try Jackpot.



This year’s competition will kick off with the Betty Gayle Open Roping, a breakaway jackpot that will raise funds for the Betty Gayle Cooper Ratliff Nothin’ But Try Scholarship. Later in the day the steer wrestling jackpot will raise money for the Levi Wisness Nothin’ But Try Scholarship. These awards are given annually and to date, over $40,000 has helped students achieve their educational goals.

Both events will feature two full rounds of competition with a finals. The overall winner in each will receive a Nothin’ But Try championship buckle custom made by Tres Rios Silver. Entries for the breakaway roping close at 9 a.m. with the roping starting at 10. The books for the steer wrestling close at 1 p.m.



With the passing of NFR steer wrestler Garrett Nokes in February, organizers decided the event should grow again. Nokes, who was the coach at Mid Plains Community College in his home state of Nebraska, won the first round of the NFR in 2005. In honor of that win, a $1,500 bonus will be paid to the first-round winner in the steer wrestling.

Nokes was part of the back-to-back men’s championship teams for Panhandle State University (Goodwell, Okla.) representing the Central Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. At the time of his death he was coaching in the Great Plains Region. Because of Nokes’ ties to college rodeo, the first Nothin’ But Heart steer wrestling match featuring athletes from those two regions will assist a student. The winner will also receive a trophy buckle.

At the conclusion of the steer wrestling, the third annual cornhole tournament will begin. Entry fees for the tournament are $100 per team with half going to the scholarship fund. This year the winners of the tournament will be going head-to-head for the American Hat Bonus Hole to win a certificate for a new hat.

A silent and live auction will be held with 1999 world champion steer wrestler Mickey Gee on the microphone. Silent auction items and other updates will be on the Nothin’ But Try Scholarship Facebook page. Sponsorship opportunities are available, and any money raised will go directly to the scholarships. For general information about the event, or about the scholarships contact Susan Kanode, (817) 307-6336. Questions about competition should be directed to Mulligan, (580) 257-9857.


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