Some people are intimidated by 1,800-pound bulls, but for the rodeo club, it is pure excitement.
“Watching somebody ride an 1,800-pound animal is fun,” said Caylen Boyles, agriculture freshman. “It’s exciting.”
The Texas State rodeo club is composed of students who compete and enjoy the sport.
Boyles said rodeo is one of the most-watched sports in the United States with a popularity almost equivalent to basketball and football.
Brady Bauer, agriculture senior, said the interest in rodeo has grown over the years. He receives more than 50 e-mails per week from high school students inquiring about the club.
“Rodeo is always going to be around. It’s an American sport,” Bauer said.
The club has been back since last spring when Bauer was president.
“This club used to be a very large thing, back when George Strait was going to school here,” Boyles said. “The rodeo team was active and had quite a few members, but in the last five to 10 years, the team dropped off and never got picked back up.”
Rodeo’s history brings back memories and connects the western heritage in America, Bauer said.
“It’s a family pastime sport,” He said. “It’s also a unique sport not everybody can do.”
Barrel racing and team roping are the club’s strongest events.
“Team roping is our primary event. It gets our name out there,” Bauer said. “Everybody knows when we show up.”
Ashley Lynn Coker, agriculture freshman, is a barrel racer. She is currently learning to team rope. Coker said events bring risks to participants, and a minor accident can have costly consequences.
“The barrel racing is extremely dangerous because you are flying around barrels at an incredible speed,” Coker said. “If your horse slips, trips or fumbles, it could be a very bad situation.”
Coker enjoyed being with animals since she started riding at the age of four. She has participated in rodeo since she was nine years old.
Working with live animals is not cheap. Bauer said he has to take care of horses, travel miles, purchase diesel and use trailers.
Expenses average $5,000 per month to attend a competition, depending on the travel distance.
Bauer travels to Louisiana, Arizona and Colorado.
“That’s a three-day trip for me, plus I have to take of horses on the way,” Bauer said.
Boyles said the equipment, such as saddles, ropes, tack, trailers and vehicles, are personal.
“(It) makes this club team so unique because we have to use our own stuff for the school-based club,” Boyles said.
The club is in the planning process of open competition, its main fundraiser. The club plans to host the tournament in the last week of April or first week of May.
Boyles said the fundraiser gives income to cover tournament expenses the club attends.
Each event costs $80 per person.
Bauer said future plans for the club include hosting two tournaments as the club grows over the years. The competition would include barrel racing and team roping.
“Members will have a chance to compete. Barrel racers help us work the event (fundraiser),” Bauer said. “It’ll be their gift for them. They will have their competition to compete against people for all over the state.”
The club is working on a proposition from a stock contractor to rent steers from the company to practice, Boyles said.
The club is part of the southern division of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. It competes against other clubs from Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin,and McNeese State, among other universities.
Community service is a part of the club. Coker said members are currently working on a project which involves teaching special-needs children to rope.
Coker said the club is for people interested in the love and care of animals.
“It isn’t an organization that is there for your résumé,” Coker said. “People in the rodeo club enjoy animals, love to have a good time and have a passion for the rodeo.”
Bauer said students could entertain themselves while benefitting from the club.
“We welcome anybody to come and join us. It’s a fun experience. You’ll learn a lot,” Bauer said.