Rodeo Club prepares for first competition in Uvalde

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SHSU Rodeo Club members are practicing for the first rodeo competition of the year, to be held in Uvalde in October.The Bearkat Rodeo Team participates in five rodeos per semester as one of the 16 colleges of the Southern Region. Ten of the 52 students in the Rodeo Club will be chosen to be a part of the rodeo team, changing each week.”The team is preparing for their first rodeo of the season to take place on Oct.3-5 at Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde. The fall rodeo schedule consists of four other rodeos: Northeast Texas Community College, Oct. 17-19; McNeese State University, Oct. 24-26; Kingsville A&M, Oct.31-Nov.2; and Stephen F. Austin State University, Nov. 7-9,” said Katie Carpenter, marketing major and Rodeo Club member.SHSU is one of 16 colleges of the Southern Region competing in these rodeos.Last year, 19 students went to the regional play-offs, which are similar to pre-finals, for the southern region. The women’s team won second place, and several individuals made the top four. Of the 19 that competed, 13 students qualified for the national finals held in Casper, Wyo.”(We were) one of the largest teams qualifying. The SHSU Women’s Team finished 10th, and many individuals placed in their prospective events,” Carpenter said.The SHSU Rodeo Club has placed in several national championship competitions and had many individuals place nationally for different events. Such events in competitive rodeos include calf roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, bull riding and bareback, among many others.SHSU has one of the biggest rodeo groups in the region, and the group has grown as well. Six years ago there were only 18 members; last year, that number increased to 52.Rodeo seems to have peaked an interest in students all over the nation, as most teams have been growing, said Roger Hanagriff, SHSU rodeo coach.In order to become a rodeo team member, the student must first be a member of the Rodeo Club, a member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and be chosen by Hanagriff. Each week, 10 different students are chosen to compete as the Bearkat Rodeo Team.Only about half of the Rodeo Club members are agriculture majors. Other members have various majors, including business, kinesiology and elementary education.Carpenter said members come from across the state of Texas, from Arkansas, California and even one international student from France.Each of the 16 competing colleges in the Southern Region has to host a rodeo, said Hanagriff. SHSU usually hosts a rodeo in the fall semester, but this year, the team hopes to go public. “We’re trying to get our rodeo publicized on the air with the Outdoor Channel,” Hanagriff said. “Hopefully, it will attract some national sponsors and give each of the schools some exposure.” The tentative facility for the rodeo will be in Conroe at the Lone Star Convention Center, March 6-8. According to its Web site, the SHSU Rodeo Club has won more national awards than any other rodeo organization at any other college or university in the nation.SHSU has indoor and outdoor practice arenas and practices stock almost all year to help the rodeo participants prepare for competition.