Monday, October 15, 2007

NPC Rodeo Club Reestablished

Young Rodeo Lovers Back in the Saddle



After three years of being largely defunct, the Northland Pioneer College Rodeo Club is back!
The club was brought back with the help of the college and community members. Members are now able to compete in 10 rodeos throughout the year with a chance to complete in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) finals.


"It just got re-established," Sandy Doyle (who, with her husband, John, coaches the team) said.
The club was reestablished with no funds and no participants and had to start from the beginning, recruiting kids and enrolling them in the college. He said advisors from the college helped him get off on the right foot.
"The college has helped out a lot," John said.


The Rodeo Club is made up of seven members: Choc Westcott, 20, Casey Rudder, 19, Pat Curtin, 19, Marissa Marciano, 18, P.J. Thomas, 21, Rendi Lamb, 18, and Ace Long, 19.
To be eligible to compete, the students must have a high school diploma or GED, carry 12 credits through the college and maintain passing grades.


The club would still need funds to operate. Eddie Hancock, the Town of Taylor, Rob and Shawna Bolten and Victoria McCarty have made sure the kids have a place to practice in Taylor and Show Low.
"They donated the use of arenas," Sandy said.
More help came from other community members. Dax Austin provides the Rodeo Club with bulls for their practice and Reed Flake provides the steers and ropes. Bullfighters Shawn Corbello and Clifford Maxwell and Taylor Ambulance are also on hand for every practice.
Practice for the Rodeo Club occurs two or three times a week for two hours each day. The members practice their different areas of expertise: Westcott and Rudders are team ropers, Curtin, Thomas and Long are bull riders and bronc riders and Marciano and Lamb are barrel racers.


Not only must the Rodeo Club's members stay conditioned, but their horses have to be taken care of and their equipment kept in top shape. It's a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun for the members, who all agree that rodeo is a thrilling pastime.
"I've always wanted to do it," Westcott said.
Thomas said rodeo was "just a dream I developed in high school. I started doing it. I made a lot of friends doing it. It's kept me out of trouble. There's nothing I'd rather do."
The members just got their first taste of competitive rodeo as a club, participating in a NIRA rodeo at Cochise College in Douglas Sept. 21 and 22. NPC had two winners. Long placed third in the saddle bronc event, while Curtin won a jackpot bull ride worth $2,500.
It was the first of the 10 rodeos that the NPC Rodeo Club will participate in as part of the Grand Canyon Region of the NIRA, which takes in 10 college rodeo teams in Arizona and New Mexico.


The next rodeo for NPC's riders will take place at Dine College in Tsaile Oct. 26 and 27. At the end of the year, each region is represented at the national level for the finals.
Rodeo participation can be very expensive, but many area organizations and businesses have helped them with donations and discounts. Among those to be thanked are: Hawkeye Feed, High 5 Design, The Tack Shop, Cowboy Up Supply, Eddie Hancock Ranch, Hatch Construction and Paving, Doyle Electric, Yellowhair Buckles, the Law Office of Ron Wood, Gold Level Construction, Mobile Cellular and Eagle Realty.


But the newly reformed club still needs help and would like others in the community to help out with either sponsorships or fundraisers, and support from the community would be welcome.
Aside from competing, the NPC Rodeo Club will promote a rough-stock clinic in the future, which will be open to the public. For more information on this or to become a sponsor, call John Doyle at (928) 521-6005.