The University of Arizona rodeo team is an on-campus club where students can learn how to compete in rodeos or participate by watching competitions and assisting riders.
The rodeo team is technically a club as per the UA because rodeo is not an official NCAA sport. Competing members of the team participate in the Grand Canyon region, which encompasses both colleges in Arizona and New Mexico. The team is also a current member of an organization called the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
Alexis Tache, a UA sophomore studying animal science, is the current secretary of the club, which is part of their executive office. Tache has been a member of the team since her freshman year and competes, but she said that members don't have to compete to be a part of the club. Anyone in the club is eligible to compete, the only requirement is to have above a 2.0 GPA.
“Being able to hang out with other people that kind of share the same passion is the best part of the club,” Tache said. “This is the career field I'm wanting to go into, so being able to make connections in this field [because it's a bit more of a unique field], is really valuable.”
Tache suggests that anyone interested in horses or adrenaline field events should consider joining the club. Aside from riding, there are other events such as barbecues and fundraisers, amongst other happenings. The club is currently reevaluating its member dues, but Tache predicts the cost will be around $20 for the year.
“You can just come and hang out, maybe meet some people you don't know,” Tache said. “You can donate some of your time whether you want to actually be in the arena and helping set up or if you want to come sit and watch, it's something to do on a weekend if you're not too busy.”
Vanessa Lopez, a junior studying family studies and human development, is a non-competing member, which she has been since this fall. Non-competing members are responsible for helping competing members prepare, attending club meetings and taking videos of competitions for post-competition reviewing.
“Honestly, I love winter rodeos,” Lopez said. “I mean, I don't love waking up really, really early and being really, really cold, but I like to be around all of the horses and help out and then watch them all get to run or race … it's really fun.”
The only requirement for non-competing members is to attend at least one rodeo per semester.
Follow Annabel Lecky on Twitter