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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA wranglers to cowboy up this weekend

    Long before niche-food restaurants and overpriced boutiques lined East University Boulevard to hallmark West Coast spirit, culture thrived in a different medium at the UA – in the spirit of the true Old West.

    The UA Rodeo Club has been roping, riding and barrel-racing since 1939, making it the oldest collegiate rodeo club in the world.

    Team coach John Marchello, who has been on the job for 40 years, said the club’s heritage has produced some of the world’s finest riders.

    “”We’ve even had world champions here,”” Marchello said.

    The UA has had nine intercollegiate world champions, with the most recent graduating last year. Biosystems engineering graduate Sherrod DeVerse won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Academic All-American Honors. In past years, there have been champions from many of the rodeo events, including goat-tying, calf-roping and bareback riding.

    Intercollegiate rodeos have ten events, including barrel racing, bull riding, team roping and steer wrestling.

    The rodeo team is anxious to try out its skills again this weekend with the next rodeo. The 68th Annual University of Arizona Intercollegiate Rodeo will be held tomorrow and Sunday at the Tucson rodeo grounds, Marchello said.

    “”Our region is very competitive in the barrels and our region is very competitive in the team roping,”” Marchello said.

    Megan White, a rodeo team member and animal science junior, competes in barrel racing and has been around rodeos her entire life.

    “”I like the competition,”” White said. “”It’s an everyday thing. I ride my horse every day to keep my horse in shape.””

    White and her horse, Crockett, have to practice as much as possible to stay fit for upcoming rodeos. Many of the members of the team practice at the coach’s house because he has a full arena, horses, roping steers and calves to practice with, White said.

    “”It’s a lot of hard work and practice,”” said DeVerse, a UA rodeo team member who competes in calf-roping and team-roping. “”When everything comes together, it’s very rewarding.””

    The UA is the only Arizona university that has a full rodeo team, said DeVerse, who has been on the team for four years.

    Marchello has served on the committee for 29 years and has done more than 3,000 rodeos since 1984. He also used to compete in team roping.

    A rodeo scholarship fund was developed at UA in 1970 to provide assistance to some of the competitors attending the university. Marchello said all of the members of the team were able to get scholarships this year.

    The team is smaller than usual this year, with two men and five women on the team.

    “”It’s a smaller team in our region,”” White said, who thinks this may be an advantage for the UA since it means more practice time with the animals.

    This weekend’s rodeo is free to the public and the UA team will be competing against at least eight other colleges and universities.

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