Today@Sam Article

Bearkats Take The Reins In New TV Show

Sept. 9, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Crandall

Bradlee Miller competing in bareback ridingWith the release of a new television series featuring multiple ‘Rodeokats,’ as coach Bubba Miller calls them, and the start of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) 2021-2022 season taking place the same day, Sept. 24 will be big for Sam Houston State University’s rodeo team.

The premiere of ‘Kid Rodeo’ by the Outdoor Channel will likely bring new notice to SHSU and the rodeo team, with three Bearkats featured: Aspen Miller, Bradlee Miller and Chris Villanueva. The series focuses on young rodeo athletes competing to get to the Junior World Finals rodeo in Las Vegas.

“The Kid Rodeo film happened right before COVID. They videoed their home life, their rodeo life and even went into their schools,” said Bubba Miller, SHSU rodeo coach. “Having Bearkats featured is just great. I really think what it’s going to be able to show once it comes on the air is how great the athletes are here at Sam Houston State.”

SHSU’s rodeo team has both new and returning members that Bubba expects to see great things from this year. Many ‘Rodeokats’ compete year-round, have been competing all summer and are fully-prepared to dominate the NIRA southern region and qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo.

Chris Villanueva competing in bull riding at NIRA Southern Region college rodeo“I have worked really hard to perfect my skills and to be the best that I can be for the upcoming season because we have a really tough group of guys and girls this year in our region and on our team,” said Bradlee, SHSU freshman rodeo team member. “I think rodeoing all summer really helped mature me and a lot of others coming into the college rodeo season. Since we got back, we’ve been in the gym and the arena every day and trying to put our best foot forward to make the finals this year.”

One thing that Bradlee and Bubba, the father-son duo, both believe is a major reason that so many talented athletes choose to attend SHSU is the family and community that is found in this rodeo team. Between the family bonds amongst team members and the great support from the SHSU and Huntsville communities, each ‘Rodeokat’ has many great sources of encouragement.

“You can see how, from our first meeting and having such a large group of kids to the home environment and practices with great kids that push each other, we are a big family,” Bubba said. “Great practice, great kids, faculty, staff, support throughout the community; it just all adds up to be the winning combination.”

Bradlee Miller competing in tie-down roping at Texas High School Rodeo Association finalsThe upcoming college rodeo season kicks off with the Panola college rodeo in Tatum, Texas Sept. 24 and 25; and four rodeos later, SHSU will host its college rodeo at the Lone Star Expo Center in Conroe, Texas Nov. 12 and 13.

“I am excited for this season to prove to myself that I can make the college finals again and that last year was not a fluke,” said Villanueva, sophomore rodeo team member. “Every year, the Sam Houston college rodeo is one of my favorites. I get the opportunity to show out in front of our home crowd and fellow students.”

Rodeo fans and Bearkat fans alike are encouraged to attend the SHSU college rodeo to support the team and see first-hand why multiple ‘Rodeokats’ are featured on the new series, ‘Kid Rodeo.’ The first episode of the series will be available through the Outdoor Channel on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. CST.

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