Tom Parker Leaves a Legacy

THE LETTERS T-P WERE PRINTED ON THE CASPER COLLEGE RED VESTS THIS YEAR FOR A GOOD REASON...THE RODEO ATHLETES WERE DEDICATING THEIR RIDES AND ROPING TO FORMER COACH TOM PARKER...CNFR PASSED JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO AND PARKER WAS NAMED THE NATIONAL COLLEGE RODEO COACH OF THE YEAR. AS HE LEFT A LASTING IMPRESSING HERE IN CAPSER AND IN THE SPORT...K2'S MEGAN SALLE TELLS US ABOUT THE LEGACY HE LEFT BEHIND.



Arena Sound: "There were none more awesome than this year's Coach of the Year, the late Tom Parker."

"The Bible says, 'Grey hair is the crown of splendor. I mean he had some grey hair but he was just great to talk to. He could use those personal experiences and be like, 'oh no, you're not reinventing the wheel. I dealt with this back in '96'," Dustin Luper said.

"I've been to rodeos and never produced one, so I asked Tom a lot of questions. What do I do with this? How do I do that?
Tom was really helpful. He's greatly missed," Sheridan College Rodeo Coach Marc Gilkerson said.

Longtime Casper College Rodeo Coach Tom Parker passed away last March.

"He was always fair. He wasn't afraid to leave kids home if they were doing unethical things during the week, even though they'd be winning their region," Luper said.

"He always had a character about him that you could count on him and you knew you could trust him," Gilkerson said. "I think that integrity is part of the legacy he will leave."

Although Parker was quite serious during the rodeos, after he knew how to take his hat off and tell stories.

"Tom liked to have fun and he liked to tease and joke around. I have some stories, but I don't think I can tell them on camera," Gilkerson laughed.

Jhett Johnson on big screen: "He was behind you a 100 percent and he wants you to succeed not just in rodeos, but in life."

Parker influenced rodeo athletes for over 25 years...And when he couldn't show up, they did.

"I've never been to a more honorable funeral. He had kids that I went to college with, that lived 4 states away that came to the funeral wearing their vests," Luper said. "To speak truth and to speak life into their whole life while they were rodeoing says a lot."

The truth is CNFR missed Parker this year and this summer other events will feel that void too.

"He will be missed all over, not just at rodeos but in the community of Casper. They will miss him. I miss him," Gilkerson said.

"I honestly don't think we will be able to fill his shoes," Luper said.

Arena Sound: "One more time for the family and the student athletes touched by the great leader Tom Parker."

I'm Megan Salle reporting in Casper for K2 Sports.