Jackrabbit rodeo gala kicks off April 8


Anne Virginia Koepp

The annual Jackrabbit Stampede Rodeo will soon be here and SDSU rodeo-goers are gearing up for the competition against other universities.

The rodeo will have six different performances April 8-11 at the Swiftel Center. SDSU rodeo coach Ronald Skovly said it will be a doubleheader with 11 schools from five states competing.

“This will be the 56th Jackrabbit Stampede,” said Skovly. “The rodeo itself has been voted the best rodeo in our Great Plains region for the last three years.”

The SDSU team is working hard to be ready for the upcoming Stampede Rodeo.

“I have 58 great kids on the team and we are looking forward to the spring rodeo season, practicing every day from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” said Skovly.

Those eight hours every day are used up quickly.

“Open riding and barrels is from 1-3 p.m., cattle from 3-6 or 7p.m., goat tying from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and rough stock is 7-9 p.m.,” said Danielle Schubert, a sophomore animal science major from from Brainerd, Minn.

Schubert has been riding with the SDSU Rodeo Team for two years, but has been on the back of a horse since she was three. She will be competing in breakaway roping, goat tying and team roping with fellow student Cami Bauer at the Stampede Rodeo. Team roping involves two riders that rope the same calf each, one by the head, and one by the hind legs or “heels.” Schubert will be heading.

Breakaway roping has a special “honda” (the knot on the rope) that breaks away as soon as the calf has been roped.

Goat tying involves roping a goat while mounted and then jumping off the horse to tie three of the goat’s legs.

Competitors are scored on time. Accuracy comes into play for the riders because they need to make every shot count.

Schubert will be aboard Handy Man, her horse for team roping and goat tying. She will ride her other horse, Chuckie, for breakaway roping.

Unlike the SDSU Equestrian team, the rodeo team members provide their own horses for the events.

Among the schools coming to Brookings in April is SDSU’s northern counterpart, NDSU.

NDSU Rodeo Club President Rachel Stewart, a sophomore animal science and equine studies major, is looking forward to the Stampede Rodeo with her team.

“Last year was my first time competing in SDSU’s rodeo,” said Stewart. “It was exciting and they put on a good show.”

Stewart has been riding since she was six years old and primarily competes in barrel racing with her mare, Gidget. Barrel racing is a fast-paced event judged only on the horse and rider’s ability to speed around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern.

SDSU’s Rachel Tiedemann won the College National Finals Rodeo barrel racing championship last June in Casper, Wyo., according to the CNFR Web site.

Besides barrels and roping events, the Stampede Rodeo will host rough stock riders too.

Bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback riding are events judged on both time and skill.

Riders need to stay on the bull or bronco for eight seconds to get a score. The score is based off of both their ability to ride and the difficulty of the animal they ride.

The Stampede Rodeo is a big event for the team, since they travel to most other competitions.

“The rodeo team competes in 10 rodeos per year,” said Skovly. “Five in the fall and five in the spring.”

“I love competing at the other schools,” said Schubert. “We get to meet new people and compete in a sport we are all so passionate in. There are some long drives, but most of the horses are used to being on the road quite a bit.”

Students interested in helping out with the rodeo team are invited to attend a Rodeo Club meeting the first and third Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Animal Science building.

Skovly said the Rodeo Club has about 85 members at this time.The Stampede Rodeo is a way for students from across campus and other schools to come together to cheer their rodeo team.

“It is a great sport and something I hope I can always be involved in,” said Stewart. “I would like to see the number of people involved in rodeo sustain and grow in the future.”Stampede Rodeo tickets are available at the Swiftel Center box office. Ticket prices are $14 for an adult, $6 for a child and $8 for students with ID.

“I think it is hard to find a group of people or a coach who is as dedicated to a sport and their livestock counterparts as the people in the rodeo community,” said Schubert. “Come see us at the Jackrabbit Stampede!”