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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M men’s rodeo team jumps back in the saddle on Friday

Rodeo
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Rodeo

The Texas A&M men’s rodeo team launches their season with a road trip to the home of the 2019 National Champions and will compete Sept. 25 in Tatum.
The team will be hosted by the defending National Champions, Panola College. The first event of the fall season is at Bar None Cowboy Church Arena in Tatum. Slack will begin Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m., and performance will follow in the evening at 7 p.m. The Southern Region is one of the largest and most competitive in college rodeo, with 12 colleges competing in this weekend’s performance, men’s rodeo team head coach Al Wagner said.
After 28 weeks without college rodeo, the cowboys at A&M are heading back into the arena. Wagner said there will be some challenges with a lack of roughstock riders, but they have a strong group of men for the timed events. Additionally, A&M has added new team members who will help build the program and potentially compete at the College National Final Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming in June 2021.
Wagner said the team is excited for the 2020 season, but this opening competition will be intense since it is hosted by the defending national champs.
“College rodeo is very competitive,” said Wagner. “We got college kids that are going Pro Rodeo as well as college rodeo.”
While still in the midst of a pandemic, Wagner said there will be some changes to the fall rodeo season. The NIRA is only accepting fees online, and attendance has been limited to contestants, coaches and immediate family members. Wagner explained that he and team members are ready to commit and do their part to stay safe and healthy in order to compete.
“We’re willing to follow [NIRA guidelines] just so we can get a chance to college rodeo,” said Wagner. “The regions that include Arizona and California, they’re not rodeoing this fall — at all.”
A&M will feature returning 2019 Southern Region Champions Cord Kohleffel and Kaine Warnken. Wagner said having plenty of other returners and new team members has made the team ready to face off against the top contenders of the southern region.
Senior Tyler Handley, bareback rider, is out for the season from a hip injury but said he is excited to be back and see the team competing.
“The first rodeo is always like the first game of any season,” said Handley. “You know just kinda getting the jitters out and seeing how things are going to go.”
Ty Salisbury, sophomore tie-down roper, returns this season and said he is looking forward to competing against some good ropers this weekend.
“There’s no doubt that there will be some great competitors that are going to show up,” said Salisbury, “you will really have to be on your A-game.”
Friday is the start of the 10-competition rodeo season, and Salisbury said with last season cut short he is ready to get everyone back together and kick off the fall season with a good run in Tatum.

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