‘College Daze’ rodeo in town

Freedom Newspapers

The Eastern New Mexico University rodeo team hosts the 43rd annual ‘College Daze rodeo’ beginning tonight and continuing through Saturday at Lewis Cooper Arena in Portales.

ENMU rodeo coach David Browder describes the rodeo as a family event.

“For the three-day total there will be over 750 runs and rides out there for the weekend, so lots of good rodeo action,” Browder said. “It’s good clean family fun, and it’ll be very entertaining.”

The cost is $5 for adults, and $3 for kids 6-and-under.

The rodeo features 16 schools from eastern New Mexico and west Texas, competing in five men’s events, and three women’s events, including a crowd favorite, bull riding.

“We’re real excited, because we’re the first rodeo of the year,” Browder said. “And it’s kind of a brand new year, you get to see all of your friends again and it’s just exciting because we have a lot of contestants at this rodeo.”

The rodeo begins at 7 p.m. each evening at the campus arena located on 18th Street in Portales.

“I’ve been at it for two months now,” Browder said, in explaining how long he’s been preparing for this rodeo.

Home field advantage in rodeo, isn’t always an advantage, says Browder.

“These kids are actually producing and putting on the rodeo, so their going to be just as tired as I am,” Browder said.

The ENMU rodeo squad qualified two athletes for the College National Finals last season. Rowdy Sanders was 13th in the nation in bull riding, and Raelyn Gardner was second in the nation in break-away roping.

Browder says he’s got another solid team this year.

“(We’ll be) very competitive, we don’t have as many as we’ve had in the past, but they’re a good group of kids, and they’re very talented, and hard workers,” Browder said.