Tarleton Rodeo Team successful at 2022 CNFR
By: Madison Conner
The Tarleton Rodeo Team looks to build on last year’s successes as they prepare for the upcoming season.
This year the mens’ team brought home a national championship. Senior athlete Walt Arnold was named the Steer Wrestling Champion. Nearly every student on the National Team ranked in the top 20 at the CNFR.
The rodeo team was founded in 1947. Tarleton State University is now home of the largest collegiate rodeo teams in the United States. Since Tarleton’s first National Championship in 1967, the team has brought home eight team titles and 29 individual titles. The team reached 147 card holding student members to start the 2021 season.
The College National Finals Rodeo was held June 14-18 in Casper, Wyoming. Tarleton athletes brought their A-game.
Graduate Assistant and rodeo athlete Jacob Perky spoke highly about the program. He has been a team member since August 2017 and chose to move up his position and be more involved with coaches and fellow students.
“I want to coach as a career and the position being established for a graduate assistant, I felt like it was a great opportunity to get my feet wet and learn the ins and outs of what goes on outside the arena,” Perky said.
Coaches and students have made it clear that you can expect to continue to see success from this team both in and out of the arena. Academic excellence is very important to the program.
“Coaches set up the athletes practice schedules that are accommodating to class schedules the best they can and are flexible to move times around so that as many students as possible can practice each day,” Perky said.
Tarleton Rodeo attracts students from all over the United States because it is unlike any other program.
“Our coaching staff, alumni and our facility is what really sets us apart from other teams. It helps that our foundation was established early on, and people already know what we are about,” Perky said.
Rodeo is an individual sport, but the students at Tarleton work as a team to support each other and the sport.
“Being a student lead team with lots of involvement is a strong suit for building such a strong team and strong individuals. Our athletes respect one another and the university. We hope students will grow their knowledge and be promoters of our sport,” Perky said.
Team members have nothing but inspirational and heartwarming words about the program.
Students of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds all find a home in this team.
Senior athlete Autumn Zilar is a transfer student from Northwest College who just completed her first year with the team.
“My favorite thing about our team is that everyone wants to be great, so you are constantly pushed by your teammates and coaches. Coming into such a large and competitive team like Tarleton was very intimidating,” Zilar said. ”I like to be very involved and know everyone so coming from a small team of 25 to a team of over 100 really makes you realize you are a small fish in a big pond I did my best to get to know everyone and I was pleasantly surprised how even though it is a large team it feels like a very close family.”
The Tarleton Rodeo team is preparing for the 2022-2023 season outside of the arena by making renovations to the facility and finding new donors and sponsors to support these athletes.
Practices will begin again for students in August, and it will be game time come September. Be on the lookout for this team making history.