For the 70 members of Kansas State’s rodeo club, cowboy hats are a must.
The team meets the first Monday of each month with executive board meetings in between. Although rodeo is a more specialized field, like all clubs, the team accepts individuals from all majors, and anyone can become a part of the executive board, said Casy Winn, club adviser and instructor of animal sciences and industry.
Team practices are always different.
“There’s really no typical day,” Winn said. “When we’re outside here, we have two arenas, so a lot of times we’ll start open calves while they’re working barrel horse in the other arena, then we’ll team up later. Just depends on the day and the students’ schedule.”
Each member specializes in specific sports within rodeo as well as responsibilities if they are on the executive board.
As a member of the rodeo club, one requirement is to have sponsorships totaling at least $300 with $200 of that total coming from local businesses.
“That sponsorship amount can either be in straight cash or in value of services that a business provides us,” Jacob Grinstead, sponsorship chair and senior in agricultural economics, said.
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Members of the rodeo club come from all backgrounds. For Grinstead, it was a family affair.
“I was born into a horse family,” he said. “My dad was actually on K-State’s rodeo club in the ’80s and team roped all of his life and continued to.”
Although Grinstead didn’t start team roping until high school, he rode pleasure horses when he was young.
“A pleasure horse or a show horse in general, is evaluated by judges based on their ability to provide basically an easy, enjoyable riding experience,” Grinstead said. “You want a lot of the same qualities in a cow horse or a rope horse, but the energy level, and the competition time is a lot faster paced.”
For some, rodeo can even become a career.
“I know I’m going to rodeo the rest of my life,” Grinstead said. “I know I’m going to train on horses the rest of my life. What I haven’t figured out is whether that’s the career path I’m meant to do or whether there’s a plan for me to achieve something else.”
Some team members go on to win national titles, like Kassidi Hofman, senior in animal sciences. Hofman won fifth in the nation last year in breakaway roping, making the women’s rodeo team 15th in the country, Winn said.