Iowa State gears up for rodeo

The stocks are waiting in the pen in preparation for the rodeo at the ISU Rodeo Arena. The rodeo takes place October 2nd and 3rd starting at 7PM. Photo: Molly McKernan/Iowa State Daily

Molly McKernan

The stocks are waiting in the pen in preparation for the rodeo at the ISU Rodeo Arena. The rodeo takes place October 2nd and 3rd starting at 7PM. Photo: Molly McKernan/Iowa State Daily

Alissa Atkinson

Calf roping, goat tying, barrel racing and steer wrestling aren’t merely pastimes of cowboys and Westerns — they are events that will be seen at the Cyclone Stampede Rodeo on Friday night.

The rodeo, which is sanctioned by the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, is an opportunity for students to compete in rodeo events.

Held at the ISU Rodeo Grounds, the competition will begin with a grand entrance by Iowa State’s own rodeo royalty. Rachel Burton, sophomore in animal science, is Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa 2008, and Rachel Bergren, junior in animal science, is Miss ISU Rodeo 2008.

The event is expected to attract more than 1,000 audience members, said Rita Cook, Cyclone Stampede Rodeo Club treasurer and junior in agricultural business.

Visitors can also expect to see “breakaway roping, team roping, saddle bronc riding and bareback riding,” Burton said. “And of course we will end with bull riding.”

Heidi Gansen, Cyclone Stampede Rodeo public relations officer and junior in animal science, said there will be more than 255 competitors from within the Great Plains Regional Conference in attendance.

Participants in this conference are students from other college rodeo clubs in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Nebraska, Gansen said.

“They all compete in rodeos to receive points, and the top competitors are sent to Wyoming for Nationals,” Gansen said. “The season runs from the fall to spring.”

There are five members from the Rodeo Club who have spent many hours in training in order to participate in the events. Gansen said “there are long hours that go into training for the rodeo. It takes a lot of physical fitness.”

In addition to an arduous training schedule, there are a number of precautions taken to ensure the rodeo runs smoothly.

“We have safety personnel, like bullfighters and pick-up men, to keep the competitors safe,” Cook said.

The rodeo is particularly special to Burton. At this rodeo, she will not only make an appearance as Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa, but has assisted in the planning.

“I am honored to be a part of all of the rodeos I attend, but I don’t get to plan them or help organize them,” she said. “Everything is different because this is the only collegiate rodeo I get to be a part of.”

As Miss Teen Rodeo Iowa, Burton represents the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. She spends many weekends promoting rodeo by way of parades, school functions and visits to hospitals across the Midwest.

Bergren aspired for the title of Miss ISU Rodeo since the day she “saw the girls with sparkly shirts riding on fast horses and carrying the American flag,” she said.

Bergren enjoys her biggest responsibility as Miss ISU Rodeo in promoting rodeo and a western way of life. Miss ISU Rodeo is responsible for traveling to rodeos during the summer, where she promotes the club and rodeo. She is also responsible for media interviews and class visits to encourage people to attend rodeo events.

The rodeo begins at 7 p.m. Friday. Prior to the show, tickets will be for sale at the gate. Attendees are encouraged to dress casually. However, “if you want to embrace your inner cowgirl or cowboy, feel free to dress western,” Burton said.

— Allison Suesse, Daily Staff Writer, contributed to this article.

Cyclone Stampede Rodeo

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: ISU Rodeo Grounds, two-and-a-half miles south of campus on State Avenue

Cost: Advanced student tickets can be purchased for $8 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday at a booth located near the Memorial Union food court. Prior to the rodeo performances, tickets will be for sale at the gate.

ISU Rodeo Club meetings

When: Bi-weekly at 7 p.m. Mondays

Where: Kildee or Agronomy Halls

Contact: [email protected]

Want to be the next Miss ISU Rodeo?

Contestants are encouraged to apply now. “I will pass on the title in February or March 2009 at the Cowboy Ball,” Bergren said. To be eligible to run for Miss ISU Rodeo, one must be a current ISU student, have been a member of ISU Rodeo Club for at least one semester and have a minimum GPA of 2.0.

Funding for the rodeo:

The Cyclone Stampede Rodeo attributes most of its income to sponsorship from various nationwide businesses. Gansen said the businesses donate money for the cause in return for advertising in the rodeo’s programs.

“It’s an advertising tool [for these businesses],” Gansen said.

This year, the rodeo initially had trouble getting adequate funds.

“Unfortunately, we had a really hard time getting sponsorship this year because of the economy and the floods. They affected a lot of those businesses.” Cook said.

Therefore, Cyclone Stampede Rodeo received funds from Government of the Student Body, which, when added to the money from sponsors, resulted in a surplus of funds. These funds went toward advertising in local newspapers and port-a-potty rentals.

The ISU Rodeo Club, which helped fund a portion of the rodeo, had issues with insuring the mechanical bull, one of the sources for funding of the event.

Rebecca Adair, director of risk management, said the ISU Rodeo Club was taking the mechanical bull off-campus, where the insurance was not able to cover it.

“We told them you could use [the mechanical bull] on campus, where we had some control of how they were setting it up,” Adair said. “It was OK for them to do as a fundraiser here [on campus].”

Because the ISU Rodeo club took the mechanical bull off campus, the fundraising device was not covered by university insurance.

— Allison Suesse, Daily Staff Writer