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CWU Rodeo Team competes in college rodeo

CWU Rodeo Team Gets the Chance to Show Hometown Pride

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CWU Rodeo Team competes in college rodeo

Emma Johnson, Staff Reporter

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For every sport at CWU, there are home games in which students can come and cheer on their fellow Wildcats. The CWU Rodeo Team is no different. This past weekend, the CWU Rodeo Team held a rodeo at the Kittitas Valley Event Center. The rodeo was put on by the team, and had the help of many local sponsors. Every Labor Day Weekend, a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeo is held at the rodeo arena, which is where the best of the best come to compete before the pro season ends. But during this time of year, it is the college level’s chance to compete in the arena that Craigs Hill overlooks.

CWU junior Michael Anderson is the president of the rodeo team. He is a local Ellensburg resident, and has been on the team since his freshman year. Anderson decided to become president after last year, when the team lost both its coach and its club director.

“I felt like it was time to step up and take charge, and try to make the best of the [CWU] rodeo team,” Anderson said. “So far we’ve done a great job coming together as a team.”

Anderson is a team roper, and he heads, which means he catches the horns of the steer instead of the heels.

“There’s nothing like team roping. It’s team effort, I mean you have five brains trying to work together. You have you, your partner, two horses and a steer,” Anderson said.

Anderson said competing at his level in a PRCA rodeo arena is a good experience, especially since it is so close to home. Anderson said he is more of a jackpot roper, so he probably would not want to pursue a professional rodeo career. Jackpot roping is team roping, for fun and money essentially.

“I just have fun, I don’t think I would get paid much on the trail,” Anderson said.

While the PRCA rodeo draws a larger crowd, Anderson hopes to draw more attention to the college rodeo level, bringing more community support to the local kids who go to school in Ellensburg.

CWU freshman Branden Ford decided to go to CWU because it was close to home. He joined the team because he has been doing rodeo his whole life, and he wanted to continue in college. Ford is a team roper. He is a heeler, and he and his partner have been fairly successful for their freshman year. They placed fourth in team roping at the last rodeo that took place April 12-14. Ford said he also wants to start steer wrestling, but has always done team roping.

Lindsay Sogge, a CWU sophomore and barrel racer, described what it is like competing in a PRCA level rodeo area.

“It is a great sneak peek at what it would be like to compete in PRCA rodeos,” Sogge said.

The rodeo had two days of slack in the morning before the actual performance on Friday and Saturday night. There was a short-go on Sunday, in which the top qualifying contestants from Friday and Saturday come back to have the chance to improve their average.

The contestants competed in breakaway calf roping, tie-down roping, team roping, barrel racing, goat tying, saddle broncs, bareback riding and bull riding. All of these events are timed, with a lower time producing a better score. The roughstock events, which are saddle broncs, bareback and bull riding, are eight seconds long. From that eight seconds the contestant gets scored on how they were positioned on the animal and if they were kicking the horse or bull enough. The judges also base scores on how the animal is bucking, which reflects on the rider. The average for night one of the performance was about 70 points, with 100 points being the highest score a rider can get.

The roping events have a calf or steer, and competitors rope either the calves necks for calf roping or the horns and heels for the team roping. There is a barrier that the riders cannot cross until the calf or steer is out of the chutes fully. If the riders break the barrier, a full five seconds is added to their time, which can affect their placing.

Goat tying consists of a rider running down to a goat on horse back, jumping off the horse while it is still running and tying three of four legs on the goat. The goat must stay tied for a certain amount of time to ensure the tie is correct.

Barrel racing is a clover shape pattern with three barrels. The contestants will either start with the left or right barrel and they will run as fast as they can around the barrels. If they knock a barrel over, there will be a five second penalty added to their times.

CWU was not the only school competing this weekend. Other colleges that competed included Walla Walla Community College, University of Idaho, Eastern Washington University and others.

“[The rodeo] brings people together because we have a wide range of other colleges who compete at the same rodeo,” Sogge said.

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