Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES - New Mexico State University's rodeo team dominated the season opener, winning the men's and women's team competitions, both all-around titles and four of six timed events at Cochise College in Douglas, Ariz.
"It was my first time to be able to watch the team in competition, and I was very impressed with the amount of talent we've got," said Jim Dewey Brown, NMSU's first-ever rodeo coach, who began work late this summer. "It also shows that we've been practicing."
Two transfer students on scholarship, Mandy Sproul and Clay Snure, won the all-around titles during the rodeo Sept. 27-28. Sproul swept the goat-tying and barrel racing events, winning every go. She was runner-up in breakaway roping. NMSU's Tori Koyle was third in barrel racing.
Snure won the calf roping title. Jarret Corn, who represented NMSU at the College National Finals Rodeo this summer, was third.
NMSU's Aaron Thomas and Lee Kiehne won the team roping title, finishing first in the short go and average. Snure won the long go in team roping, competing with a header from another university.
In rough stock competition, NMSU's Lane Dixon was third in bull riding.
Other team members who had strong showings were Leah Stevenson, who was third in the first go of breakaway roping; Audrey Baeza, fourth in the first go of barrel racing; and John Pete Etchevarry, fourth in the first go of team roping as a header.
NMSU has 13 athletes on rodeo scholarships this year, up from four in 2001. Frank DuBois, director and secretary of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, has spearheaded the efforts to strengthen rodeo at NMSU, lobbying for creation of the rodeo coach position and leading scholarship fund-raising efforts.
NMSU had 21 entries in Douglas, a significant increase from last year, Brown said. The team will next compete at back-to-back rodeos on Oct. 12 and Oct. 13, both at Northland Pioneer College in Snowflake, Ariz.
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