OSU to host NIRA rodeo for upcoming seasonFri, 16 May 2014 10:12:01 CDT
By Sean Hubbard
It's the ropes and reins, and the joy and the pain, and they call the thing a rodeo.
The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) at Oklahoma State University recently received some wonderful news from the Central Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA). Since CASNR took ownership of the OSU Rodeo team two years ago, it has been on a mission to host an official collegiate rodeo.
"OSU has not hosted a rodeo in nearly 30 years," said Cody Hollingsworth, OSU Rodeo Team head coach. "I was so excited when we were notified we had been selected to host a rodeo this fall."
The three-day event will take place Oct. 9 Oct. 11 at the Payne County Fairgrounds, just east of Stillwater on state highway 51 and Fairgrounds Road. There will be ticketed performances each evening of the rodeo, with the finals on Saturday night.
"We're very excited about this opportunity," Hollingsworth said. "It could be a cornerstone for the program as far as building support and funding. The students are really excited about it and I think the public will be, too."
More than 40 OSU students competed for this year's Rodeo Team. There are 11 national regions, and OSU participates in the Central Plains Region, which features 28 colleges and universities from Kansas and Oklahoma, totaling more than 500 regional competitors.
While CASNR provides the bulk of support to the program, a portion of the funding for team travel expenses and equipment comes from the competitors themselves.
"Hosting this rodeo gives us the opportunity for donors, sponsors and supporters to come and see how they're helping. It gives them something to hang their hats on," Hollingsworth said. "The opportunity to host a rodeo doesn't come very often. Our region had a school that wasn't able to keep its rodeo, so the opportunity opened up, we wanted it, campaigned for it and were awarded it for next fall."
Starting next semester, there will be three small scholarships available to OSU Rodeo Team members. Hollingsworth is hopeful the rodeo will allow for more scholarships to become available.
"Once we get a rodeo, it will become a permanent part of our program," he said. "By selling sponsorships and tickets to the public, it will be a great opportunity for us to make some money, which will go right back into the program to help pay for any needed facility upgrades, travel money and scholarships."
The team is wrapping up this year's season and gearing up for the College National Finals in Casper, Wyoming. The new OSU Rodeo will be one of 10 regular season events in the region for next year.
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