Students Saddle Up for Rodeo Club

NDSU Rodeo Club member Kasey Dressler competes at Black Hills State University.

Similar to other athletic clubs at North Dakota State, the Rodeo Club finds plenty of success during its season.

Although the club has been around for 50-plus years, president Katelynd Whitehead explained the club has “doubled in size” in recent years, sitting at about 38 members, in which 30 travel to compete.

As well as dedicated returning members, Whitehead said members “don’t have to compete. Anyone that shares a love for rodeo is welcome to come out and join us.”

For those interested in rodeo, there’s an endless list of events to compete in. Haley Johnson, a club member and NDSU senior majoring in equine science, listed men are able to compete in team roping, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bull riding and bareback riding. The women, she said, can compete in barrel racing, goat tying, breakaway roping and team roping.

Johnson grew up with horses, a background that now helps her as she specializes in barrel racing, breakaway roping and team roping.

“I got my first personal horse and started barrel racing, and then got involved in North Dakota High School Rodeo,” Johnson said. “(I) got a few more horses, started doing more events, and rodeo just grew into something that I am very passionate about.”

Though the Rodeo Club is beneficial to people who want to compete, it serves other purposes.

Member Logan Kemmer and NDSU senior majoring in construction management said the club actually helps him with his academics.

“The rodeo club has pushed me academically every year,” Kemmer said. “Knowing that if I do not earn a high enough GPA, I would not be able to compete in rodeo. It has made me a much better student over the years.”

Like most sports teams and clubs that travel and compete, the members have to maintain a certain grade point average and take a required amount of credits.

Similar to the competition aspect of the club, travel for Rodeo Club members is optional. As a team, members are a part of the Great Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and compete against colleges in Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota. The club also hosts its own meet, “The Bison Stampede,” every October.

Along with consistent practicing of its actual rodeo events, the club divides the rest of its time planning own events as well as brainstorming ways to be successful in other events.

Johnson said the club holds meetings shortly before an upcoming rodeo, where they discuss travel arrangements and upcoming events.

Though rodeo may not be for everyone, the members raved about their experiences in the club.

“My favorite part about the rodeo club is being a part of a group of people with similar interests as me,” bull-riding specialist Kemmer said. “I have met some great people that I don’t think I would have ever met if I was never a part of the rodeo club.”

Johnson expressed her love for the club as well but for different reasons.

“My favorite thing about rodeo is getting to travel with my horses and compete in many different cities and arenas,” she said. “I love the adrenaline rush that comes with competing in my events and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with competing with my 1,200-pound teammate.”

While the Rodeo Club won’t be hosting their next home meet for some time, any students interested in rodeo are encouraged to join this club in order to compete or become a part of the planning process.


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