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Fresno State Bulldogger Tyler Forsberg ropes a calf on Saturday, March 12, 2017 at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds. (Christian Ortuno/ The Collegian)

Bulldoggers ‘breakaway’ from competition

The Bulldoggers, Fresno State’s rodeo club, rounded up their weekend at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds after competing in multiple events against seven other colleges. Each college is a member of the West Coast Region as part of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.

Members of the team competed in barrel racing, breakaway roping, team roping, bull riding, tie down roping, Saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, steer wrestling and goat tying.

Colton Campbell, an animal science equine studies major, and Bodi Dodds, an agricultural business major, won the team roping event. Campbell placed second in the steer wrestling event and Ryan Smith finished in fourth place in the barrel racing event.

The competition is held every fall and spring. The accumulation of points at the rodeo determines which teams qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo. Only the top three colleges qualify to compete at nationals, which will be held in Casper, Wyoming in July. The Bulldoggers find out in May if they qualify.

Club President Brittany Dias said that, overall, it takes teamwork.

“It’s a very independent sport, but we all come together and we help each other out,” Dias said.

The sophomore agricultural education major competes in goat tying, breakaway roping and team roping, and has been competing since the age of five.

“I love drawing up in the performances because it’s like a pumped up kind of feeling.” Dias said.

Smith, a media, communications and journalism major, has competed in barrel racing for Fresno State for three years, but has been competing outside of school for 18 years.

She said rodeoing is unique because you cheer on your teammates even though you compete against them.

“I am literally rooting for my competition. It’s a weird dynamic, but it just works. If I don’t win, then I want my friend to win,” Smith said. “I think that is a cool unique thing about it because in ball sports, you are never hoping the other team does good.”

Mitchell McCoy, an agricultural education major, came out to watch a friend compete in his favorite event, the bronc riding.

McCoy said, I like it because it’s people like me, country people, and it’s free.”

Jenna Wilson contributed to this story.