Mesalands Community College rodeo team member Cody Kirksey (right) show off his skills Saturday during the college's third annual exhibition rodeo fundraiser (sun photo/Angela Peacock)
Ludy Mitchell wore an ear-to-ear grin as she watched boyfriend Domingo Mendoza “cowboy up” for the last time this semester during the third annual Mesalands Community College Rodeo Scholarship Fundraiser Barbecue and Team Exhibition.
“This rodeo is mainly a fundraiser, but basically the team is here to show off their skills,” Mitchell said. “You get to watch everybody show off, you get to eat and dance, and all the money they raise goes towards scholarships for the rodeo team that’s the neatest part.”
Tripling the teams membership in only three years from 13 members two years ago to more than 49 this semester proves how rapidly the Mesalands rodeo team is growing.
In 2001 the exhibition rodeo brought in an estimated $6,500 and about $8,600 last year. This year Liz Adcock, chairman of Mesalands CC Foundation, said she’s almost positive the fundraiser met this year’s $12,000 goal.
“It’s taken three years for us to grow the team to this size, now maintaining what we’re doing at this point is our long term goal,” Adcock said. “The whole idea behind the exhibition rodeo is to make known the magnitude of the rodeo team and its significance to the overall curriculum at the college.”
Mesalands Community College’s president Dr. Phillip Barry is more than pleased with how much the college rodeo team has expanded over the past three years, and said he owes a big “thanks” for everyone who has helped make the team such a success.
“Our biggest draw is that Danny Garcia is the coach and we have outstanding facilities,” Barry said. “It’s unbelievable the partnership between the college and the Quay County Fair Board and county commissioners for allowing us to use those facilities.”
Coach Garcia awarded three scholarships during a barbecue, which followed Saturday’s rodeo. One was presented to Genie Noel as a continuation of a scholarship she received last year. The other two recipients were Kayla Goode and Chase Pope.
Coach Garcia also presented recognition awards to Reynaldo Maestas, most dependable athlete; Jesse Townsend, most improved athlete; and Justin Price, all around athlete.
Garcia was excited the rodeo fundraiser raised the amount of money it did, however, he said he was slightly disappointed in the lack of participation for such an important college event.
“Our team is improving and things turned out pretty good this semester. If we just keep doing things the way we have we’ll continue to do good. What’s holding us back is the community not getting more involved,” Garcia said. “People who donate, say $500 to for a scholarship to help a kid they don’t even know is great, but if people would come out and actually see what we do they might get more excited and say ‘hey this year I’ll give $1,000.’”
Early estimates by Mesalands officials indicate this years rodeo raised an estimated $12,000 for the rodeo scholarship fund. A grand total won’t be available all payables and amounts due are closed.
Rodeo was first introduced as an intercollegiate sport at Mesalands during the fall semester of 1998. The College is a member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and competes in the Southwest Region, which includes eastern New Mexico and west Texas. Both the men’s and women’s teams compete in rodeos in the fall and spring. Students must meet national eligibility guidelines and be enrolled full-time in order to participate in the college rodeos throughout the region. Top athletes from the region compete in the College National Finals Rodeo in June each year. Garcia said making it to the national finals isn’t easy since only the top three winners from each rodeo category are eligible to advance.
“We have a lot of guys doing a really good job considering we’re competing in the toughest region in the world,” Garcia said.