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Several men pose while standing on stairs.
The members of the Cyclone Cowboys club team.

Cyclone Cowboys look to stir up the competition

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Media Contact: Jordan Bishop | Editor, Department of Brand Management | 405-744-7193 |

A team of Oklahoma State University students is showcasing its engineering prowess in the 2024 Collegiate Wind Competition. The Cyclone Cowboys — in only their second year — are aiming to win this time around. 

The competition will be from May 5-9, 2024, at the American Clean Power Association’s CLEANPOWER Conference & Exhibition in Minneapolis. The competition aims to help college students prepare for jobs in the renewable energy workforce. 

The team will create a hypothetical wind farm based on the competition’s region, which in this case is the Great Lakes. They will also create a working wind turbine, which will be tested against different conditions in the competition, which includes community outreach. The wind farm, turbine design, turbine testing and outreach will all be tested at the competition. If the Cyclone Cowboys win first overall, they will win $10,000 and a trophy.

A yellow turbine fan sits on a table surrounded by wires.
The Cyclone Cowboys make turbines like this one as part of their project.

Nate Lannan, an assistant professor of practice in OSU’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is the club's advisor. Lannan said the competition happens in phases, where around 30 groups start out competing before narrowing down to the top 13. The Cyclone Cowboys placed 11 out of 32 last year, which Lannan said was outstanding. 

“It was a really good showing,” Lannan said. “I’m so proud of the students because we were starting from the ground up, and all these other schools have been doing this for around ten years. ”

Lannan said that renewable wind energy accounts for around 44% of Oklahoma’s energy, so having students become interested and invested in this project is extremely important. Energy is one of the main pillars in OSU President Kayse Shrum’s We Are Land-Grant Strategy, released in 2022 to support the university’s land-grant mission. 

There are several components to the competition, including project design, public outreach and turbine design. Different senior students lead separate pieces of the project, which counts as their senior design project, but students of all years are welcome to join the club. The students from last year graduated, so this year’s club is full of fresh faces.

New president Jace Stanley, a senior mechanical engineering technology major, said anyone is invited to participate in the club. While mostly engineering majors, the Cyclone Cowboys are looking for students of all concentrations to assist. Even veterinary and political science students have helped on the project, and the team members have said that they can find a use for anyone. 

Some students in the club have also found themselves coming out of their shells after joining. 

“I’m not the most sociable person at first,” Stanley said. “So, I became the outreach lead and now I go out and talk to people. You don’t have to be an engineer as long as you’re interested in it.”

The Cyclone Cowboys have gone to several events to reach out to the community, and the group is planning to head out to local elementary schools to help educate kids on wind energy. As the students prepare for the competition, they continue to try to recruit underclassmen to take charge of the club in the future. 

“Get your foot in the door as early as possible,” said Matthew Griffin, an industrial engineering senior and team lead for the Cyclone Cowboys. “When I was a freshman, I didn’t have any connections. Getting your connections early opens up that many more paths to future jobs, future projects and even grad school.”

Students can email Stanley to join at or go to

Story By: Mak Vandruff |

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