Sul Ross hosts NIRA Rodeo
Collegiate rodeo returns to its birthplace as Sul Ross State University hosts the annual National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association event Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 24-26.
Competition begins nightly at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24 and 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 25-26 in the San Antonio Livestock Exposition (S.A.L.E.) Arena at the Turner Range Animal Science Center. General Admission is $6. Children under 12 and Sul Ross faculty, staff, and students with ID will be admitted free of charge. Slacks will be held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25-26, beginning at 9 a.m. each day. There is no charge for the slack.
Teams competing include: Angelo State University, San Angelo; Clarendon College; Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, N.M.; Frank Phillips College, Borger; Howard College, Big Spring; New Mexico Jr. College, Hobbs, N.M.; Odessa College; Ranger Junior College; South Plains College, Levelland; Tarleton State University, Stephenville; Texas Tech University, Lubbock; Vernon Junior Regional College; Weatherford College; West Texas A&M University, Canyon; and Western Texas College, Snyder.
On Saturday evening, one of four candidates will be crowned Miss Rodeo 2013. The reigning Queen is Molly Jo Collins, Balmorhea. Rodeo Queen 2013 candidates are: Ali Burks, Copperas Cove; Keyla Kothman, Sheffield; Danielle Lucero Gardendale; and Katie Savage, Pearland.
Rodeo Queen candidates
2013 Sul Ross Rodeo Queen candidates are (from left): Keyla Kothman, Sheffield; Ali Burks, Copperas Cove; Danielle Lucero, Gardendale; and Katie Savage, Pearland. Coronation will take place Saturday, Oct. 26, in the S.A.L.E. Arena prior to the rodeo. (Photo by Dana Jones)
Sul Ross boasts nine national team championship teams, seven men’s and two women’s; and 24 individual event titles. The rodeo team won men’s championships in 1949-1952– the first first four years of NIRA competition -- as well as 1962, 1982, and 1983. Sul Ross garnered women’s crowns in 1962 and 1985. Only Southeastern Oklahoma State University claims as many national team championships, five men’s and four women’s.
Harley May, a member of the first three national championship teams, won eight national collegiate titles, three world championships in steer wrestling on the professional circuit and was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1979. He returned to coach the Sul Ross rodeo teams from 1994-1998.
May won the all-around men’s championship from 1949-51; bareback riding in 1949; bull riding in 1949-50; and saddle bronc riding in 1950-51. Tex Martin (1953) and Cody Lambert (1982) also won men’s all-around titles, while Jo Gregory Knox, (1951), Elisabeth Prude Longbotham (1953), and Donna Saul (1962) claimed all-around women’s crowns.
Other Sul Ross national individual champions are: bull riders Johnny Ackel (1952), Ira Akers (1953), Tex Martin (1954), and George Eads (1962); saddle bronc rider Don Lee Smith (1958) and Bill James, who tied for first in calf roping in 1961 and won team roping in 1962.
In women’s competition, Charlotte Martin (1954) and Saul (1962) won goat tying championships; Saul won calf tying in 1961; and Jayne Gentry won breakaway roping in 1985.
Present team member Jessica Jo Wood, Terrebone, Ore., finished fifth in goat tying at the 2013 NIRA national finals after winning the Southwest Region title. As of Oct. 15, she ranked fourth in this season’s regional standings
Sul Ross Rodeo Team
Top, from left: Damon Thorn, Sam Powers, Toby Lee, KC Frier, Coley Shipp; front: Coach Jacob Gernentz, Samantha Kauk, Keyla Kothman, Autumn Rusher, Katie Savage, Sadie Sacra, Jessica Wood, Katlyn Rusher, Parker Littlejohn and Danielle Lucero. (Photo by Dana Jones)