Fresno State Bulldoggers remain strong 68 years later

Two Fresno State Rodeo Club members compete in a team roping competition in June 2016. (Courtesy of Fresno State Rodeo Club)

Slip on your boots and tighten your belts ‘cause the Rodeo Club is still around.

The Fresno State Bulldoggers Rodeo Club is the oldest club sport on campus. It has been around since 1949 and plans to continue with its success.

The club hit the ground running when it came to getting the semester started. The Bulldoggers held their first meeting on Jan. 19, just two days after the start of the spring semester.

Club President Brittany Dias said she has high hopes for the club. She hopes the club will continue to grow with members and continue placing in competitions.

The Bulldoggers compete in only collegiate rodeos in various events. These events include bronc riding, bareback riding, steer wrestling, tie down roping, bull riding for men, barrel racing, goat tying, breakaway roping for women and team roping for both men and women.

Team coach Tony Branquinho said it takes much commitment when it comes to being part of the club.

 “There is actually a class that most of students take Thursday nights from 6 to 7 p.m., we meet once a week for our meetings but we practice Monday through Thursday all week long,” Branquinho said.

Branquinho has led the team to success for two years.

The Bulldoggers had a total of four women and two men place is last year’s College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Wyoming.

Taylor Arakelian, a senior and a fourth year member of the club, said she plans to continue being part of the team for at least another year.

It’s amazing to see how the club has grown over the past four years. When I was a freshman we had about 12 members and now we have thirty plus members,” Arakelian said. “In a way our club is like a mini family, we all have each other’s backs in and out of the arena. Everyone supports everyone. From helping you get your barrel horse in the arena, to helping each other study for exams.”

As a sophomore, Dias said the club has also helped her in many ways.

“They are more than just my teammates—they are my closest friends,” she said. “We are a close knit group. I have gotten a lot of academic advice from the other members.”

Aside from practice, the club is planning their annual banquet to raise funds for their upcoming rodeo in March.

The next club meeting will be held on Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. Anyone interested in the club can contact Brittany Dias at britdias@mail.fresnostate.edu.

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