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Interim President Jeff Campa presents the Alumnus of the Year award to Cory Young on June 27.

“The free grace and the dispensational theology that I came out of Calvary with drives everything that I have done.”

Cory Young, a Calvary graduate of 2003, was given the Calvary University Alumnus of the Year Award at the 2020 Commencement ceremony on June 27. Young serves as a rodeo chaplain through Golden Spurs Ministries. He explained, “[Rodeos are] a subculture in the U.S. that, because of their lifestyle, they’re on the road a lot, so it’s a needed thing.” Interim president Jeff Campa presented the award to Young, who said, “The free grace and the dispensational theology that I came out of Calvary with drives everything that I have done.”

Young grew up near Belton, Missouri, just south of Calvary’s campus. Horses and rodeos were a part of his life from a very young age. He said, “I grew up in that world, and that was kind of part of my family.” Young was raised in a church that “didn’t really preach the gospel,” so when he attended a rodeo Bible camp at age 16, he heard the gospel for the first time. He expected to learn his sport better and thought he was “good on the church stuff,” but when he heard the gospel explained, he said, “I was an easy sell.”

Young came to Calvary to earn his bachelor’s degree in Missions and Pastoral Studies and said, “When I did my internship, I never thought I could do my rodeo ministry… but I ended up with a rodeo chaplain—the only guy that did it—and I actually did my internship with the same guy that led me to Christ.”

After graduating, Young worked for Calvary’s maintenance department and served as a youth pastor in Belton. “After that, I just started hitting I think ten rodeo Bible camps in the summer.” Young quickly became involved in the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA), serving at the National High School Finals Rodeo and National Junior High Finals Rodeo for the past 15 years.

As Young developed his outreach, he formed Golden Spur Ministries. Young and his wife, Leslie, are currently the only members on staff, but they have trained other leaders who went on to Bible college and other ministries.

Young said 17 years down the road, his time at Calvary is still impacting his ministry. “I’m still going back and using resources and notes, and that foundation is essential.” He noted that, “I had to take Greek and a lot of hermeneutics, and it taught me how to learn. I rely on that every day. On the flipside, having the missions program’s courses on culture has really informed a lot of my ministry. Even though this is not as stark of a difference [in culture], it still trained me to look at things through the culture.”

Cory, his wife Leslie, and son, CT.
Young ministers at rodeos across the country.