BOZEMAN — The Montana State Spring Rodeo wrapped up in Bozeman on Sunday, the last in what has been a prestigious career for Montana Western’s Olie Else.

It’s a tour of lasts for the head coach, who is stepping down after 31 years at the helm. But the energetic and candid coach is more ready than emotional about her final ride.

“I’m glad to see everybody, but sometimes you just know it’s time to go,” she said.

Everybody who knows her, loves her, and everybody involved in rodeo knows her. She has won national titles at Western, but she is as well-known for her unique personality.

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“Everybody knows her,” said bull rider Riley Savage. “She’s always energetic, always laughing, smiling, joking around.”

Every member of her team hears Olie in the crowd at the rodeo, ringing her cowbell. She has rung in plenty of success over her 31 years, but her proudest accomplishments have come outside of the arena.

“I can’t tell you how many kids that have graduated (and) gone on to graduate school,” she explained. “Doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, it’s been a great legacy.”

The search for a new coach is in progress, but no matter the candidate, it will be impossible to fill Else’s boots.

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