The Mesalands Community College's Rodeo Team finished the fall semester strong and has big plans for the spring. The Men's Team is currently ranked third in the nation and second in the Grand Canyon Region, behind New Mexico State University (NMSU). The Women's Team also performed well last semester, and is currently ranked third in the region. Both teams will need to finish the season in the top two in the region to qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo in June.
"More than likely we will be sending a large team to nationals this year," said C.J. Aragon, Mesalands Intercollegiate Rodeo Coach. "The more students we have ranked in the top three in the region, the more students we can send to the college finals."
Aragon said there are currently eight members of the Mesalands Rodeo Team that are ranked in the top three in the region and five students ranked nationally.
The Mesalands Rodeo Team also welcomed two new members to the team this semester. Daniel Baeza is from Chihuahua, Mexico majoring in Animal Science. James Hayes from Mt. Walker, Australia, was a former member of the team last year and has decided to return to complete his Farrier Science degree. There are now six international students on the team.
Last year the Mesalands Rodeo Team claimed the Grand Canyon Regional Championship title. This year Aragon has his sights on a much bigger title this season.
"Right now with us and New Mexico State, every point is critical," Aragon said. "NMSU is second in the nation and we are third in the nation, they're first in the region and we're second in the region. We're not just vying for the regional title, we're vying for a shot at the national title this year."
The Mesalands Rodeo Team will have their first rodeo of the spring Friday and Saturday at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz.