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Rodeoers Prepare for Newly Created
2001 Regional Rodeo Finals

Rodeo competitors at Sam Houston State University are taking the next few weeks very seriously. With competitions abound and the chance of advancing at stake, individuals are gearing up for what will be an intense few weeks.

All preparation is for the weekend of May 3-5, when qualifying members travel to Hobbs, New Mexico, to compete in the regional finals against 400 contestants from the Southern, Southwest, and Grand Canyon regions.

"The regional competition will prove to be one of the toughest rodeos I will ever compete in," said Brooke Oden, a senior Barrel Racer who is likely on her way to Hobbs.

The NIRA (National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association), which is the governing body of college rodeo, has created a new standard whereby individuals may only advance to national competition by qualifying at regional competition, which is something completely new to the Sam Houston Rodeo Circuit. Because of this inaugural competition, rodeoers are apprehensive about their performances.

"We have two remaining rodeos," explained Roger Walters, Rodeo Club advisor. "We compete at Hillsboro Junior College on April 19-21 and at Wharton County Junior College on April 26-28." Even with two rodeos remaining, Walters says 16 of the 54 eligible rodeo team members currently qualify for regionals.
Britt Walters
Sophmore Britt Walters in steer wrestling competition.

Britt Walters is one student who will advance due to his exceptional performances earlier in the season. Walters, who is in his first year of competition for SHSU, admits he feels "some pressure" as a regional qualifier. He explained, "I feel pretty confident going into regionals. It would be an honor to represent Sam Houston at the Nationals."

Members of the rodeo team compete individually in ten rodeos per year, against 323 students from the 16 schools involved in the Southern region. Their performances are scored and tabulated, with the top ten people in each event advancing to regionals. The final two rodeos of the regular season hold the key in deciding who advances and who does not.

Freshman Yvan Jayne will automatically qualify for national competition if he retains his current second place seat in Bareback Riding. He, too, is experiencing pressure, as he said, "I think that the regional finals are going to be very tough. We will be competing against the hardest region in the country, the southwest."

Though members compete on an individual basis, Roger Walters said, "There is really a lot of camaraderie with SHSU students. In every competition, to some degree, students help each other out." This togetherness has been a key to the Rodeo Team's success.

The contestants' performances in New Mexico will then determine if they qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR), often dubbed the "Rose Bowl" of college rodeo. The nationally televised competition will be held in Casper, Wyoming, from June 11-16.

For more information regarding the Sam Houston State University Rodeo Club, click here or call the Department of Agricultural Sciences at 936.294.1215.

Editor's note: As of April 23, the students advancing to regional rodeo finals include Jake Rakowitz, Yvan Jayne, Bradley Fife, Corey Sanchez, Justin Macha, Britt Walters, Jeb Chesson, Brooke Oden, Morgan Figueroa, Kelly Singleton, Amy Ray, Brooke Nettles, and Mary Moore.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Audrey Wick
Apr. 18, 2001
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