Apr 062005
Authors: Nick Piburn

With spring starting to heat up it's time to let the horses out of the barn and allow them to lead the rodeo team to another strong season, which began last weekend.

The season opener was the only home rodeo the Rams will host.

"It went really well for us," said club president Justin McGee, who competed in the team roping competition. "We had good attendance, and a great showing."

Cassidy Kurtz and Ian McKinley led the great showing for the Rams individually. Kurtz was able to take second in the barrel racing competition, while McKinley also finished in the second spot in the saddle bronc.

CSU was also able to get a team in the short round of the team roping event. Team roping was the largest of all events, with 120 total entries, including eight Rams.

While the team is looking to continue its success throughout the season, the players also are being realistic about the way the season will end.

"We're not going to be able to win region," McGee said. "We're not as well funded as Wyoming."

While the team may not be as financially sound as the Cowboys, the team will still be able to compete in a total of five rodeos this spring. After the rodeos are complete, the top three individuals for each event qualify for the College National Final Rodeo in June in Casper, Wyo.

The Rams will next travel to compete in a rodeo April 15-16, also in Casper.

Equestrian team ready for Zones

While the CSU rodeo horses are just getting warmed up, the equestrian team players have already been riding theirs for a while.

The players will continue to ride them this weekend, as they will host the Zone VII Championships at the B.W. Pickett Equestrian Center on Overland Trail, Saturday. Zones, is what comes after regionals and before nationals.

The top-three equine teams in the nation will be competing Saturday, with Oklahoma State and Texas A&M joining CSU as the top three.

The CSU English team, who compete in jumping events, finished first in the regular season and has already clinched a spot at nationals. The Rams Western team, who compete in stock show events, finished second in the regular season and will have to win Zones to qualify for nationals. Unfortunately for the Rams, this will be the last home show because the team is being cut due to a loss of funding.

"We're wanting to win nationals, and win everything," said Jennifer Olinger, publicity officer and Western team rider. "We want to go out with a big bang and show everybody we still are a great equestrian school.

"The biggest issue is finding sponsors. Everyone wants to sponsor an NCAA team. We almost became NCAA last year, but we didn't make it. Now we can't find anyone to sponsor us," Olinger said.

The event starts at 8 a.m. Saturday with the English event and will likely last until 4 p.m.

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