The Great American Stampede Rodeo, sponsored by the Cedar City Lions Club, was the first of 10 rodeos for the Rocky Mountain Region held on Sept. 8 and 9 at the Diamond Z Arena.
Each year five rodeos are held in the fall and five rodeos are held in the spring. Throughout the course of these rodeos, riders gain points for how well they perform in their respective events. At the end of the 10 rodeos the top three scoring riders from each event from each of the 11 regions will advance to the College National Finals Rodeo. The finals will be held June 10 through 18, 2018, in Casper, Wyoming.
Two SUU rodeo team members placed in the top five in the Rocky Mountain Region during The Great American Stampede rodeo.
Cody Franson, a sophomore agricultural science and industries major from Lehi, started the season strong in second place in bareback bronc riding with 150 points. Franson is 35 points away from overtaking Edward Brasfield from Colorado Mesa University for first place.
“I grew up around horses and cows my whole life [and] loved everything about it, so naturally I got hooked on rodeo,” Franson said of his start in the sport. Since his grandfather rode bareback and it was his favorite event at rodeos, he made the decision to start riding bareback in high school.
Bareback riders rarely ever ride the same horse, so Franson trains on a spur board to practice proper form. He said getting into the same rhythm as the bucking horse is the most difficult part of riding bareback, besides just staying on.
Jacob Perkins, a junior agricultural science and industries major from Panguitch, is just out of a qualifying spot in fourth place for tie down roping with 90 points. To get into a qualifying spot Perkins would need just 10 points to surpass Rex Champneys from the College of Idaho.
For Perkins, his family got him interested in rodeo. “I’ve been riding horses for as long as I can remember,” Perkins said. The summer before his high school freshman year his parents bought him Roaney, a, “…nice older calf horse that was able to teach me and make it fun.”
Perkins now rides with a horse named Honey, who was formerly his little sister’s queening horse. Honey started training for tie down roping with Perkins when she was 12, and is now 15. Even though she had never had a rope swung on her before, he said Honey took to the sport pretty quick.
SUU rodeo’s men’s team is currently ranked fifth in the Rocky Mountain Region with 240 points. The women’s team currently is not ranked.
Rodeo coach Shane Flanigan said the team has been thrilled with the support shown by the student body.
“We may be small in numbers but big in heart and very glad to be a part of the T-Bird family and representing SUU,” Flanigan said.
The next rodeo will be hosted by Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho Sept. 15 and 16.