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Brandon and Lacey Volker will compete at the Barber Co. Rodeo July 26-27. The couple met in college, got their degrees from Northwestern Oklahoma State, and live in Hardtner.

HARDTNER, KAN. (July 15, 2013) – For Brandon and Lacey Volker, their marriage is strengthened through rodeo.

It’s with rodeo that they spend time together, each weekend, traveling across Kansas, Brandon competing as a steer wrestler and Lacey as a barrel racer and breakaway roper.

And this month, they’ll have a chance to compete in their hometown rodeo.

When the Barber Co. Rodeo takes place July 26-27 in Hardtner, the Volkers will be on the contestant list.

The couple came to Hardtner on unlikely trails. Lacey grew up in Wisconsin, and Brandon in southeast Nebraska. They met each other at Iowa Central Community College in Ft. Dodge, and then Brandon transferred to Northwestern Oklahoma State in Alva. When the Ft. Dodge college threatened to shut down the rodeo program, Lacey followed him.

Brandon graduated from Alva in 2009 with an agricultural business degree, and Lacey graduated this spring with a bachelor’s of science of nursing. Brandon’s first job was with Barber Co., which required him to live in the county, so they moved to Hardtner.

The recent oil boom has caused the population of Hardtner to fluctuate, but when they moved to town four years ago, people took notice. “They actually say, we were the first people to move into Hardtner in the last twenty years,” Brandon joked. But he and Lacey like where they live. “We’re not strangers anymore,” Lacey said. And they enjoy the town. “Everybody helps out a lot. During the March snowstorm, (when the area received 24 inches in two days), people were bringing tractors in to town, and plowing roads to get around.”

Now Brandon works for Bouziden Farms of Alva, and instead of moving to Alva, they’ve stayed in Hardtner. “We have a good landlord, and housing in Alva is hard to come by.”

Both found success in high school and college rodeo, and now compete in the Kansas Pro Rodeo Association and the Central Plains Rodeo Association. They won’t have far to travel to the Barber County Rodeo, and they’re excited for it. Brandon is coming off a shoulder surgery, and was back to competition in June. This will be the third time Brandon has competed in Hardtner.

The Barber County Rodeo begins at 8 pm on July 26-27. Tickets are available at the gate and are $10 for adults.