After an impressive showing at the regional opener in Uvalde last week, the Sam Houston State University Rodeo Team is bringing the talent back to Huntsville for their only home rodeo of the year.
The action is set to take place this weekend in three event-filled days, beginning Thursday and ending with finals on Saturday.
With 25 community colleges and universities in their region, SHSU Rodeo Coach Roger Hanagraff said he expects at least 350 student athletes to participate in the event.
“Our region goes from North Texas all the way down to Uvalde in the south and even goes into Louisiana,” Hanagraff said. “We’ve got 52 members on the [SHSU] team, and we’re one of the largest in the region.”
According to Hanagraff, Thursday and Friday will consist of 10 different events including barrel racing, bareback riding, bull riding, calf roping and team roping. During these two days, all members are eligible to participate. On Saturday, the top 10 finalists in each even will compete in the finals.
The rodeo is free to all SHSU students with a valid ID, and non-students can purchase tickets for $5 at the door. A Christian cowboy church from north of Huntsville will be providing free food and drinks throughout the event.
Schools in the event compete for first place using a team point system in which the points earned by members are combined to produce a team score. At the end of the finals on Saturday, the team with the most points takes the title.
In their first appearance of the season, the men and women’s rodeo teams earned high accolades for their performances as the women took second-place honors while the men walked away with third. Last year, SHSU had eight of its members qualify in the national finals, and six of those members are returning this year.
“I think we have probably our strongest team in a long time,” Hanagraff said. “We’ve always had a strong women’s team and strong individual men, but it’s hard to get a strong men’s team together. I think we’ll have good results.”
This year, the team boasts 52 members including several high school state champions in their respective events.
“All of our members are going to participate, but I’ve chosen six men and four women to represent us with points,” Hanagraff said. “We’ve got a lot of upperclassmen who’ve done well in the past, and the number of events they do is attractive as well.”
Based on past rodeos held at SHSU, this year should provide a bang for your buck as the event attracts hundreds of participants and ranks as a favorite among the student-athletes in the region.
“Last year, the students in our region voted our rodeo as Rodeo of the Year,” Hanagraff said. “We’ve had good success in past years with our premier events and nice awards for the winners.”
After their home event this weekend, the SHSU rodeo team will travel to Northeast Texas Community College to compete in Mt. Pleasant followed by trips to McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin University.