Jodi Thacker barrel races at the SUU Hosted Rodeo. Courtesy of UVU Rodeo

Preseason high hopes helped UVU Rodeo dominate it’s first event of season

The Rodeo team couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to their season in Cedar City on Sept.10-11.

The team entered the season with high hopes, and those hopes were only magnified after their stellar performance at the Southern Utah University Hosted Rodeo. This rodeo was also the first time they were able to see the other competition within the region.

UVU dominated this opening rodeo by racking up an impressive score of 940 points; almost 200 points more than the second placed school, the College of Southern Idaho, who came in at 775.

The team earns points  by selecting six riders that will be their “points team”. When these riders place in an event, the team earns points. UVU has the luxury of having around 10 riders that they could choose from who consistently collect points.

Some standouts from the rodeo were Brock Winn, splitting the Bronc Riding title, Chris Roundy who won the Bull Riding event and Afton Caldwell won the steer wrestling event. On the women’s side, Jade Lyons took seventh in Breakaway Roping and second the Barrel Racing, which are exclusively female events.

“The only event we didn’t place in [on the men’s side] was bareback, and that’s because we had no entry for that this time,” said Coach Shane Draper.

What draws so many of these talented riders to UVU? The Rodeo team has the ability to earn winnings at their rodeos. NCAA regulations state that no collegiate athlete can be paid for what they do in their various sports, so therefore, the Rodeo team is not an NCAA- sanctioned sport.

Although the payout is usually not very high in intercollegiate rodeos, many cowboys compete in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and many riders also compete with the Professional Bull Riding Association. Many of the cowgirls also compete with the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.

Because of past successes with the program, UVU has also allotted some scholarships to be given to riders. This year the college has issued eight full-ride scholarships and four half-tuition scholarships.

Although the team doesn’t really make any money for the school, the rodeo club is the longest- running program on campus with it’s beginnings back in 1968. The team is involved with a variety of fundraisers, so they don’t take money away from the school.

After assessing the current state of his team, Coach Draper feels confident in the organization. “We don’t have many holes at all on the men’s team. I feel we can still make some noise on the national level,” says Draper.