Silo’s Cord McDonald has made his name with baseball success at the high school level, but will take on the challenge of a different sport in college after recently signing a rodeo scholarship offer with Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
McDonald has been part of four state championships on the baseball diamond with the Rebels, but that sport was really more of an afterthought behind his first love, rodeo.
“My grandfather always rode horses and participated in rodeos,” he commented. “He got me involved when I move to Durant when I was nine years old. I asked him to show me the ropes and I’ve loved it ever since.
“I’ve mainly been a calf roper, but a couple years ago I started steer wrestling. I’m planning on team roping in the college as well, since I am pretty familiar with all the timed events.”
An honor roll student at Silo High School, McDonald has juggled his free time between baseball and rodeo. The rodeo circuit has been on his own and he has had pretty good success while usually participating 40 to 50 events per year.
Now that he has more time to devote to the sport, McDonald plans to participate in 50 to 100 events a year if possible while competing at Southeastern, where the coaches have known him for quite some time.
So, obviously it was a pretty easy decision as to where he wanted to go to college.
“The college coaches have seen me compete since I was probably 12 or 13 years old, so they know me pretty well,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of improvement in that time and I think they have seen I can help with the winning tradition that Southeastern has established.
“I had two or three other college offers, but just preferred there. I don’t know why I would even think of anyplace else. All the resources they have and as close as it is. They are one of the winningest rodeo schools in the United States, and I believe that with myself and a lot of the other guys I already know, we are going to be tough to beat. I’m very fortunate to get almost a full scholarship. I’m very team-oriented and just want to help the team in any possible way.”
McDonald had not really thought much about playing baseball until he got to Silo, with its tradition-rich program. But during his career, he put in the time to steadily improve his game year-by-year with four state championship medals to show for it. In his final full season last fall for the Rebels, he batted .422 with 17 extra-base hits and was second on the team with 48 runs batted in.
He attributes much of his dedication to excel in rodeo to the Silo baseball program and coaches Billy Jack Bowen and Jamie Hastings.
“I did not play a lot of baseball when I was younger, but I made the decision four year ago I wanted to play baseball at Silo,” he stated. “I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play for Coach Bowen and Coach Hastings. I devoted a lot of time to it and worked my way into being a starting player. I learned how to be tough.
“I kind of compare it to rodeo. You have to work hard to be successful. If you don’t put in the time and effort, then you’re not going to be successful. You must be tough as nails. You have to worry about a lot more things when rodeoing, though. That’s what makes it great and that’s why I love it.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely put a cramp in what would have been a busy schedule for McDonald this spring while juggling baseball and rodeos. But he missed out on a good chance at a fifth state championship.
He has been able to attend a couple of rodeos in spite of the COVID-19 shutdown, but is disappointed that he won’t have a chance to participate in the International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee this summer, which has been canceled.
“It’s been tough to cope with missing most of final high school season because I really was looking forward to it, especially after the way it ended in the fall losing in the state finals,” he added.
“We worked as hard in the off season this winter as we had in my four years at Silo. I felt really good about where we were headed. I can’t complain about four state championships in my career, though. It is what is, though. We’re not the only ones affected by this crisis. I’ll never forget the memories and being able to say I played at Silo will be something I will cherish forever.”