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NMSUs rodeo team spurs its way to six average wins, an all-around champion

Through hot and dry 80-degree weather, the New Mexico State University rodeo team competed aggressively during a doubleheader rodeo weekend in Casa Grande, Arizona, March 10-11.

A man lifts up a calf, preparing to tie its legs.
New Mexico State University rodeo athlete Derek Runyan, of Silver City, New Mexico, prepares to tie during the Tie-Down roping event at the Casa Grande, Arizona college rodeo. (NMSU photo by Savannah Montero)
A woman in western attire steps off of her horse during the goat tying event at a college rodeo.
New Mexico State University rodeo athlete Baylee Johnston, of Prescott, Arizona, dismounts her horse in the goat tying event at the Casa Grande, Arizona college rodeo. (NMSU photo by Savannah Montero)
A woman in western attire comes out of the roping box, by horse, chasing a calf with a rope.
New Mexico State University rodeo athlete Eva Belzil prepares to rope her calf in the breakaway roping event during the Casa Grande, Arizona college rodeo. (NMSU photo by Savannah Montero)

The Central Arizona College rodeo team hosted the rodeo with two performances each day. The NMSU rodeo team walked away with six average wins and one all-around champion.

Assistant coach Ooby Hawkes was proud to see the way his team competed.

I think this last rodeo shattered expectations and showed not only the student athletes what they are capable of as individuals and as a team, but also the other colleges in this region that NMSU rodeo is on its way to the top, turning rookies into veterans of the sport, Hawkes said.

Levi Whitley from Blanco, New Mexico, walked away with a bull riding average win and the title of all-around cowboy.

Anna Barker from Rochester, Washington, raced her way to a win in the barrel racing event and broke an arena record.

I cant say enough about my horse Rios, he tries his heart out for me every single run and it really shows, Barker said. I am so blessed to swing a leg over him and let him work and win.

Colton Clemens from Firth, Idaho, made two clean rides in the bareback riding, landing him a top spot in the average.

Wyatt Jurney from Las Cruces, New Mexico, wrestled his way into winning the average in steer wrestling. He placed second in the first rodeo and first in the second rodeo of the weekend. Jurney said he had a great week of practice and was confident for the Casa Grande rodeo.

I have a great horse named Frank the Tank that takes care of me every time, Jurney said. Im just so thankful God blesses me with opportunity to live the life I live.

Jace Cooley from Musselshell, Montana, rode aggressively in the saddle bronc riding both days and won the weekend average in the event.

Tate Shelley from Cliff, New Mexico, roped his way to the top in the team roping, as one of the only teams to catch both days.

The plan is to keep practicing hard and being consistent the rest of the season, racking up as much cash and points as possible, Shelley said.

The Aggies head to Tucson, Arizona, Saturday, March 17 for the University of Arizona college rodeo.

For more information on the upcoming season, contact head coach Logan Corbett at lcorbett@nmsu.edu.