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Stampede brings calf roping, bull riding, barrel racing to 'U'

February 5, 2003

Mention of MSU's Rodeo Club could have those not in the know envisioning members as bull riders performing death-defying stunts to rowdy crowds.

And that scene might be a reality to some club members.

But interdisciplinary studies in social science junior Jennifer Hill says seasoned riders aren't the only participants of the group.

"We have people from all levels - people who have competed and know a lot about horses and rodeos to people who don't know that much but are interested in learning and finding out about it," she said.

The 50-member club is hosting this weekend's Spartan Stampede at the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education.

The event will feature seven categories, including calf roping, bull riding and barrel racing competitions. Hill said MSU will host contenders from states such as Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky and Alabama.

Hill, who is a barrel racer, said she, three bull riders and one bareback rider will be MSU's competitors during the Spartan Stampede.

Animal science senior Jeff Timm, president of the Rodeo Club, participated last year as a bull rider. He said he won't compete during this year's Spartan Stampede because he'll be training for a three-day rodeo school he'll attend in March.

Timm said the thrill he gets from trying to stay on a bucking bull is what entices him.

And although he recognizes some might think animals are being hurt during rodeo activities, he said the theory is not correct.

"For me, it's the rush to get on the back of an 1,800- to 2,000-pound animal and think above it," he said. "The animals are by no means hurt by this.

"It's like hitting your funny bone - it doesn't hurt, it just bothers you."

The Spartan Stampede is sponsored by the International Professional Rodeo Association, which leaves it open for competitors outside the college level.

The rodeo, which will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will also feature the crowning of this year's Rodeo Queen. Hill, who is one of six women running for the position, said the job holds many perks.

"Their job is to answer questions people in the audience wouldn't understand, like why someone was disqualified and help run the rodeo run smoothly," she said. "They basically promote the sport of rodeo and get other people interested and let people know what it's all about."

And once you're interested, Timm said, you stay hooked.

"You just get a chance to go out and meet new people and travel down the road with your buddies," he said. "You have the ability to be free and meet people.

"And win some money - money's good."


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