Students flock to Spartan Stampede
Boots, belt buckles, barrels and bull riding filled the MSU Pavilion this weekend, ringing in the 45th annual Spartan Stampede.
Each year, the MSU Rodeo Club brings everything western to MSU for a weekend of entertainment. About 8,000 tickets were sold for the three-day event this year.
Given MSU’s long history in agriculture, MSU Rodeo Club advisor Brian Nielsen said the rodeo fits right in on campus.
Every year, Nielsen said Rodeo Club students and other outside participants collaborate to bring western activities to East Lansing.
The rodeo consisted of various events such as bull riding, horseback riding, calf roping and barrel racing. This year, the rodeo brought in MSU alumni T.J. Duckett and Anthony Ianni as well as former Eagles football player Cam Pepper for a celebrity roping contest. The three chased bulls around the arena in hopes to rope both horns for the championship title.
Nielsen said the students involved in MSU Rodeo Club are gaining business experience by contacting potential sponsors for the event each year.
Agribusiness management sophomore Katelyn Robertson, one of the cowgirls in the show, said it’s important for participants to try their best and engage the crowd.
“It’s something you’re going to always see people give 110 percent (toward), because if you don’t give it all, people are not going to show up,” Robertson said.
Although preparing for the Spartan Stampede is something that takes place year-round, for most of the participants, Robertson said the true challenge comes with getting on a horse they’ve never ridden before and knowing what to do.
As one of the only rodeos in the area, the Spartan Stampede attracts visitors from across the nation each year.
Indiana resident April Holden traveled hours with her family to be a part of the weekend rodeo festivities.
Holden, who comes to the rodeo every year, said she keeps coming back because of the family-friendly atmosphere at the event.
This year, her husband was a part of the calf and team roping.
“It’s a family-oriented place, and not a lot things are like that anymore,” Holden said. “Unlike most sporting events, they’re supposed to have good sportsmanship and be good to their animals.”
Whether attendees came to compete, support friends and families in the show or just for the love of animals, the rodeo show provided clean entertainment for every age group.
“It’s everything you need out west all in one show,” said 17-year-old St. Johns, Mich. resident Bailee Wilkins.