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From White Coats to Yellow Shirts Shanna Simmons has it Going Her Way

May 21, 2019

From White Coats to Yellow Shirts

Shanna Simmons has it Going Her Way


Article By:  Tammie Hiatt

Photo By: Emily Gethke


Shanna Simmons pulled up stakes in Pennsylvania five years ago to attend Southwestern Oklahoma State University.  “I came to SWOSU for their pharmacy program.  I just finished my classes and had my white coat ceremony.  In August I will start my 9 months of clinical rotations and then graduate in May of 2020.  I’m not sure if I will stay in Oklahoma or maybe look at jobs in Texas.  The university has a very good placement program, so I’ll see what’s out there.”


“I just finished up my last year of college rodeo.  I had a good year and just missed going to the College National Finals in Wyoming.  I’m not disappointed though, I ended up winning 3 long go’s and won our SWOSU rodeo by 7 tenths.  I’ve been hauling one of my five-year-olds (PacMan) and last September he really caught on and won a long go by 3 tenths.  I’m excited about his future.”


“I’ve hauled him to a few IPRA rodeos this year and he’s done really well.  He’s great in the mud; he’s gotten a lot of experience in it from the spring rodeos.  It doesn’t matter what size the pen is either, He’s ran a 13.9 at Northside in Ft. Worth and a 17.0 at our college rodeo at Weatherford, he’s pretty adaptable.”


“I bought PacMan when he was a 3-year-old off the track, his breeding is First Down Dash and Shawnee Bug.  He knew nothing when I got him,” Shannon said. “I started him and brought him to Oklahoma with me.  He’s super kind and doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.  He has a lot of try.  I really can’t pick on him for anything; he’s very easy to get along with.  His weekly schedule is mostly riding through the fields and keeping him legged up, healthy and happy.”


“I’ll literally look at any horse when I’m shopping for a prospect.  I usually end up with odds and ends,” says Simmons.  “I was actually riding an Appaloosa when I came to Oklahoma and he started making the short go’s at the college rodeos.  I have had good luck with Rocket Wrangler, First Down Dash, Shawnee Bug and Easy Jet.  So if I see any of these bloodlines, I’ll usually look at them a little closer.”


Shanna has five IFR qualifications to her credit and was only 15 when she and her mother both qualified for IFR40.  Currently sitting 4th in the IPRA’s world standings a sixth trip to OKC isn’t out of the question.  “I’m just going to see how it goes.  PacMan is young and I don’t want to give him more than he can handle.  If things are going good, I’ll keep going.  I’ll give him some time off mid-summer, but IFR50 is in the back of my mind.”


 “I really only have until August to rodeo and then my rotations will start.  I plan to go back east to some rodeos this summer but will probably not make it to St. Tite this year.  That’s one of my favorite rodeos, it’s been very generous to me in the past.”


Superstitions play a part in most competitive sports and rodeo is no different.  Most cowboys won’t be caught dead in a yellow shirt, but Shanna feels differently.  “I’ve won a lot of money in a yellow shirt.  If I get down on myself, I’ll break out the yellow shirt and try to turn things around.  I’ll admit that I do have a weird superstition; I have an old rubber snake that I haul with me.  I found it on the ground at a barrel race about 15 years ago; I picked it up and won the barrel race.  So it goes in the trailer, every trip.  I’ve gotten in slumps and thought I needed a new snake so I’d go to Wal-Mart and buy one, but always end up pitching it out the window and sticking with the old one.”


 “I want to credit my mom and stepdad for all they do for me.  They are always traveling to Oklahoma from Ohio and swapping horses with me.  My mom sent me a picture the other day of my old horse Fred (Tag Em Easter Jared).  I rode him at all the IFR’s I’ve made, all of the short go’s at St. Tite and he earned me my rodeo scholarship to SWOSU.  He’s 22 and retired out with the broodmares at my mom’s house.  He was my first Rocket Wrangler horse and was a great one for a long time.”


For more information on IPRA membership, rodeo schedule, results and world standings visit