On April 7, 8 and 9, the Colorado State University rodeo team will host the 67th Annual Skyline Stampede Rodeo at B.W. Pickett Arena in the CSU equine center. This is just one in a series of rodeos for the spring semester in which CSU Club Rodeo Team members will compete.
The team is one of the oldest collegiate rodeo clubs in the nation.
“Our rodeo is an event that carries on the tradition and perpetuates the legacy of the oldest college rodeo in the country,” said Kristen Schmidt, a third-year agriculture business and animal science dual major.
Members compete through National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, which is divided up into 11 regions. They can compete in bull riding, saddle broncs, bareback riding, barrel racing, team roping, calve roping, breakaway roping, steer wrestling and goat tying.
“We work all year long planning for this event and it is so much fun,” said Kristen Grave, the club’s president. “We host over 300 competitors from 13 different schools in the Central Rocky Mountain Region over the course of three days.”
While CSU’s collegiate rodeo club has been around since the 1940s, rodeo itself dates much further in American History. Rodeo events have evolved around real ranching tasks performed by cowboys in the early American West. Jobs like roping and sorting cattle, and training horses morphed into wild west shows, where people could come and watch cowboys take on more and more difficult variations of these tasks. Wild west shows appeared all over at the time, so we still do not know exactly when the first rodeo occurred. However, many of the rules and events we know today were established at the Fourth of July rodeo in Prescott, Arizona in 1888. Now, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in conjunction with the Women’s Pro-Rodeo Association make up the most prominent circuit for contestants to compete in. The National Finals Rodeo is held each year in December in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While most events are performed by an individual competitor and their horse, many club members talk about the camaraderie they feel for the team.
“The CSU rodeo team is so supportive and is basically family to me,” said Lake Mehalic, a first-year equine science major and barrel racer. “All of my closest college friends have come from the team, and I love them so much. The team is just so genuine and really loves the sport of rodeo.”
This weekend the club will host its spring barrel race. Barrel racing is a traditionally female-dominated event in which riders must run their horses in a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels a fast as possible, hopefully without knocking any over. This takes skill and agility on the part of both rider and horse. The free event will be held April 1 at the B.W. Pickett Arena.
Collegian reporter Emma Turner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EmmaTurner1228