The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Board of Directors unanimously voted to award the 2012 Coach of the Year to Sonny Hansen. Sonny was the embodiment of the award title. It is painful to use the verb “was” as Sonny won’t be able to accept the award himself, as college rodeo lost this cowboy in September of 2011.
Sonny Hansen lost his life in a tragic horse accident during a rodeo practice. Sonny was protecting the lives of his cowboys as a pick-up man.
Sonny was the rodeo coach at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Oregon, for over fifteen years. He was a college rodeo competitor, sat on the NIRA’s board as a student director, student president, and a faculty director for the Northwest Region. He was a volunteer at the College National Finals Rodeo for years, been known to sing the National Anthem when needed, and has been one of the elite pick-up men since 2009, sharing the job with one of his dearest friends, Billy Ward.
NIRA Commissioner, Roger Walters said, “This award, though given posthumously, is proof that Sonny’s spirit and legacy lives on in college rodeo. We are lucky to have such an outstanding individual to be named NIRA Coach of the Year.”
Sonny’s family, wife Jackie, and sons Clayton and Chase, are planning to be in Casper for the presentation of the buckle.