Fifteen colleges and universities from the Southwest region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association were competing in the three-day Texas Tech rodeo, which drew more than 500 participants to the South Plains. Texas Tech Rodeo Coach, Chris Guay, said that he has some real bright spots on both the men's and women's teams.
"I tell you what, we got a girl that came in from the College of Southern Idaho, and she is entered this morning in the breakaway, her name is Tracy Bailey, and Taylor Langdon, she was the Southwest region champ and fifth in the nation this last year, and Kiersten Stubbs, Shelby Jansen, got a good group of barrel racers, breakaway ropers, and goat tiers," Guay said. "Then for our men's, Josh Cardon rides bulls and bulldogs real well, and all three of our calf ropers."
J.D. McCuistion, the men's rodeo team captain, said that his team members have been working hard all week to not only practice themselves, but also get everything in line to host the rodeo for the other teams in the region.
"This rodeo, with the calves that we have, the stock contractor did a great job, I believe anywhere 8.5 seconds or less should be the top ten holes," McCuistion said. "Today I was 8.1 and it's sitting fourth right now. It wasn't as good of a run as I would have liked, but it worked out in my favor."
His time in the prelims was fast enough to make it back to the short-go to compete for regional points, and it's no wonder why he's so competitive.
"I'm from Collinsville, Texas, and I've been rodeoing ever since I was 9 years old," McCuistion said. "I came up from the junior ranks, high school ranks, now in the college ranks and I also rodeo professionally."
McCuistion also takes his school work very seriously and is proud to be at a university where he can be involved in so much.
"I'm a junior here at Texas Tech, and I'm an ag economics major and I just rope calves," McCuistion said.
The Southwest region includes many other colleges and universities competing against Texas Tech, such as Sul Ross State University, Odessa College, Tarleton University, among others.
"We're in the Southwest region, and there's 15 schools in this region," Guay said. "There's 11 geographical regions in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, but this is our fourth rodeo of ten. We'll actually have five in the fall and five in the spring."
Guay said that their main goal is to focus on matching their success from last year. Time will tell if they are able to keep their same momentum going.
"We need to step it up here to be honest," Guay said. "You know we're coming off a national championship for the women, the first Tech has ever had, so we want to step it up and win the region again. Last year we won it by nearly 2,000 points. We want to make sure we get in there and win the region title and go on to nationals and represent Tech again on a national level."
To qualify for the college national finals rodeo, team members must do well enough at each regional rodeo to earn points for both themselves and their teams. The top two teams and top three individuals in the region automatically advance to nationals to be held June 2013 in Casper, Wyoming.