Rodeo groups look toward traveling, equicenter

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Though the annual K-State rodeo has come and gone, the K-State Rodeo Club and team are still in full swing.

Allan Schmale, president of the club and senior in animal science and industry, explained though post-rodeo time means winding down the year for the club, both the club and team have responsibilities to finish out the spring rodeo season.

The difference between the club and team is that the team travels to rodeos throughout the area and competes in events, while the club is responsible for making sure the team is taken care of regarding everything from paperwork to equipment, said Matt McKinstry, head coach of the rodeo groups.

“We have about 30 club members who do just about everything that the 16 team members do, except travel on the road,” said McKinstry, graduate student in animal science. “They practice together, prepare together and just share a lot of similar interests in the success of the program.”

The groups, which were established in 1947, meet twice a month in Weber Hall. During the last 10 years, they have proposed plans to construct an equicenter, but the main constraint has been funding, McKinstry said. The proposed equicenter would serve as a teaching and event center for the rodeo club and team, as well as the K-State equestrian team. It has been recommended the equicenter be built at the intersection of Kimball and Denison avenues, north of the fire department. An equicenter also would provide a more definitive home for the organizations, McKinstry said.

“The equicenter is still in the planning stages, but I would project that it is a real possibility in the next two to three years,” McKinstry said. “It would really give the rodeo groups a little more publicity for all their hard work if we could be housed in a brand new facility.”

Because the rodeo club and team do not fall under the NCAA standards, they cannot be considered a varsity sport at K-State. Except for the annual rodeo weekend every spring semester, the groups do not receive much spotlight on campus or funding from the school. They follow the regulations of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, which governs all college rodeo competitions in the United States, McKinstry said.

“Basically, we’re just a laid back group with an open-door policy,” McKinstry said. “Everyone pitches in and practices together, club and team members. We would love to get more people involved.”

A majority of the members come from an agricultural background and find joining the rodeo group the best way to stay involved with their rural interests, Schmale said. Lindsay Domer, second-year team member and sophomore in agricultural communications and journalism, explained that the team is very close due to all of the traveling to competitions.

The team competes mostly against Division II schools and junior colleges. Oklahoma State University is the only other Division I school in the area with a rodeo team. The team will travel this weekend to a competition at Fort Scott Community College, Domer said.

“We’ve had a pretty good season so far,” Domer said. “But we’re definitely hoping to improve, starting this weekend.”

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