Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Rodeo team shows skills

The rodeo clown looks on as the rider holds on. Photo by Matt Lara.
The rodeo clown looks on as the rider holds on. Photo by Matt Lara.

The WTAMU rodeo team practiced in the rodeo arena these past few weeks in preparation to co-host the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s next event in conjunction with Clarendon College and Frank Phillips College. Competitors from all around the south west region gathered at the WT rodeo arena located just south of Kimbrough Memorial Stadium in hopes of coming away with a victory.

Casey Crow, the head coach of the WTAMU Rodeo Team for the past 2 years and graduate of the University, brought 25 competitors to the rodeo event in an effort to repeat the performance they gave in 2006 when they captured the NIRA Men’s team championship in Casper, WY. The divisions the team competed in are very diverse including bull riding, bareback riding, breakaway roping and team roping.

Although twenty five competitors from WT attended the event, only six can be designated as team members.

“It’s an individual sport just like golf, but we compete as a team,” Casey said. “What that means is we take six guys that we designate as being on the team for that weekend and it can change every weekend and those team points go toward making the college national finals where they take the top three teams at the end of April.”

Each and every competitor associated with WT’s rodeo team spends several hours each week practicing. Cody Meech a team roper for the University, said that team works hard to be ready for competition.

“We spend a lot of time practicing,” Meech said. “We can practice every day if we want to but between classes and stuff I try to practice three to four times a week if I can. It takes a lot of practice to do what we do and do it good.”

Many individuals wonder why exactly rodeo competitors do what they do, and Juan Cantu, a bull rider for the team, tried to explain why he participates in rodeo.

“It’s no different than a football player, we love what we do and it’s just the excitement that comes over you when you have a good run or to a football player when you score a touchdown,” Cantu said. “It’s the same feeling of excitement when you succeed at your sport.”

Skills related to riding and roping are just one aspect of what the students gain from being a part of this team.

“I believe that a lot of discipline goes into this,” Casey said. “They have to be on time and they have to be here to help.”

Casey said that the competitors have a good relationship with the animals and that they rely on each other when they compete.

“They take care of the animals and they’re very respectful to them,” Casey said.  “The animals depend on the students and this gives them a lot of responsibility and respect. I’ve never had to get onto a student for rough housing any of the animals.”

The animals that are used for the competition are leased through a company called Bad Company Rodeo. These animals are housed at the rodeo arena.  Cantu says the animals are well taken care of at the arena.

“Some of the bulls and horses are high dollar animals,” Cantu said.  “You don’t buy a high dollar car and abuse it, and the same goes for these animals.”

A large crowd was in attendance to support the Buffs and other competitors as they took to the arena.

“I came out here to see my buddy ride and to support the buffs,” Justin Hand, a student from WT, said.

Another WT student, Rebecca Bernet was also in attendance.

“The best part about being out here is getting an up close and personal feel,” Bernet said. “There’s not a whole lot of rodeos that go on around here.”

The WT rodeo teams is a division of Rec Sports and also receives support from the City of Canyon.

“The City of Canyon has done a wonderful job this year and has really blessed us, they have really helped us out with our rodeo this year and it has been wonderful,” Casey said.  “The university has always supported us and I am very fortunate and very blessed to be a part of and receive the support that I do from WT.”

The WT rodeo team will be competing in Lubbock, TX for their next event on Oct. 21-22 at the Texas Tech Arena. The public is welcome to attend.

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