CMU Club Rodeo

Photography by  Cat Mayer

Photography by Cat Mayer

When Jimmy Allen began coaching Club Rodeo eight years ago at Colorado Mesa University, few people knew they had a rodeo team. Today, the 30-year rodeo veteran has grown the program to upwards of 20 outstanding young men and women with a variety of backgrounds, from around the United States. Allen has a bigger vision for the team and believes it is far from reaching its peak.

    “Once rodeoing gets into your blood, that’s all you think about,” says Allen. “It becomes a supportive family where lasting bonds are made. There’s also the love of competition and the animals.”

    CMU’s Club Rodeo is part of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA), beginning its 60th year. “Preserving western heritage through collegiate rodeo” has always been its theme. Rodeo champs such as Roy Cooper, Chris LeDoux, and Ty Murray — as well as generations of rodeo families — have come up through the ranks of the NIRA. Today, NIRA has over 3,500 student and 137 school members.

    The CMU team practices calf roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, saddle bronc riding, and team roping up to 12 hours a week in the school’s Orchard Mesa facility. On spring and fall weekends, they caravan with their own trucks, trailers, horses, and equipment for ten competitions throughout Idaho, Utah, and Western Colorado.

    “It’s a bit more challenging for us to travel to competitions than loading an athletic team on a bus,” says Allen. “We also practice and compete year-round versus seasonally. These kids work so hard.”

    Allen makes sure his limited budget covers the gas and lodging costs for every team member, so no one is left behind. His dream is to someday have a large truck and trailer to haul the team and 18 horses, cutting costs and keeping the team together. He’d also like to offer scholarships to students who could raise the competitiveness of the team.

    “People don’t understand that even though we’re a team, we compete against each other,” Allen explains. “There is a tremendous amount of sportsmanship out there between the kids on our team and other schools too. That’s what I love about it.” 

Calling All Rodeo Fans

Community support is needed at the CMU Club Rodeo practice facility and at the next NIRA event to be hosted in Grand Junction, April 12-13, 2019. Donations and sponsors are always welcome. Call Jimmy Allen at 970.270.1065 for more information.