Clowns, stadium lights, fellow Aggies along with roaring crowds surrounded rodeo athletes from the Grand Canyon region March 31 at the New Mexico State University rodeo held in Las Cruces. The NMSU team competed in its second to last rodeo of the season. The men’s team placed first, and the women placed third.
NMSU rodeo head coach Logan Corbett said the home town rodeo was a huge success thanks to all of the team members, who worked tirelessly, and the community supporters, who sponsored and volunteered to service the rodeo. The last rodeo April 14-15 in Socorro, New Mexico, will be crucial, he added.
“There are quite a few NMSU student-athletes on the brink of qualifying for the CNFR (College National Finals Rodeo) but it will all depend on their performance at the regional finals,” Corbett said.
Senior athlete Wyatt Jurney, from Las Cruces, wrestled his way into winning the average in the steer wrestling. Jurney finished first in the long-go and third in the short-go. He is currently standing in the No. 1 position in the steer wrestling overall.
“I consider myself a hard worker and practice pretty solid,” Jurney said. “I believe the harder you labor the more luck you have.”
Freshman athlete Clay Barry, from Kennewick, Washington, had a great run in the barrel racing short-go and smoked her competitors. She placed fourth in the long-go and ended second in the average. Barry prepped before her run by listening to worship music when randomly a sermon by pastor Brian Houston started to play that implied a message of calming your heart and your mind. Barry explained how this reassured her nerves and anxiety.
“I walked out of the arena and the announcer said my time and I started bawling my eyes out because this is something that I have worked so hard to win,” Barry said. “I called my mom crying after.”
Freshman athlete Levi Whitley, from Blanco, New Mexico, rode one bull and scored a 73. He did not cover his second bull in the short-go but still won the average and a belt buckle. Whitley has a great season and currently stands in the No. 1 place for the Grand Canyon region.
“For the last rodeo, I’m going to keep my head clear and just ride some bulls,” Whitley said. “I’ve been riding pretty good and having fun doing it so hopefully I can take that with me to finish the season off right.”
Freshman rodeo competitor Colton Clemens, from Firth, Idaho, spurred for eight seconds winning the Bareback riding for the weekend and is on the top of the chart for men qualifying for nationals in his event.
The regional finals April 14-15 in Socorro, will crown the champions and qualify the student-athletes for nationals.
For more information on the NMSU rodeo team, contact Corbett at lcorbett.