Despite the heavy rain last weekend, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, or FMWR, Cochise College and the Sierra Vista Riding Club presented the Cochise College Rodeo Saturday and Sunday at Wren Arena.
While the wet weather discouraged crowds the first day, according to James Thomas, FMWR special events coordinator, tickets purchased Saturday were also honored on Sunday to ensure everyone had the opportunity to come and enjoy the second day of the rodeo under dry, sunny conditions.
“Hopefully we’ll get a full house today with this [better] weather,” Thomas said.
Rodeo attendees did not disappoint, packing the bleachers for a Western-filled afternoon.
Before the gates opened Sunday, Cochise College Rodeo hosts partnered with Army Community Service, or ACS, and Specialized Training of Military Parents for the Exceptional Rodeo. The mock rodeo was designed for special needs children, giving them the “cowboy” or “cowgirl” experience. Each participant paired up with a rodeo competitor to guide them through the activities.
“This is a blast every year,” said Audrey Peterson-Hosto, ACS Exceptional Family Member Program manager, explaining that events like the Exceptional Rodeo help Families with special needs children better connect to the Fort Huachuca community.
The main attraction introduced rodeo fans to seven college teams in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Grand Canyon Region, including Cochise College. Students competed in nine different events for men and women.
James Marcum, a Sierra Vista resident, said he was a fan who attends every year. He explained that much like the students competing, the rodeo was a big part of his childhood with the influence of his great grandparents.
“As soon as I could walk, [my great grandfather] took me out to the barn and got me familiar with the horses, bulls and goats,” Marcum said, adding that as a child he used to participate in bull and bronco riding at private rodeos and fairs.
“I never had the fear of riding,” he continued. “My great grandfather used to tell me, ‘you can’t be scared here,’ and that was it. I never was scared.”
While events like the bronco and bull riding excited the audience, two intermission activities provided just as much, if not more, entertainment. During the first break, children were invited to participate in a “calf scramble,” where they needed to chase down a calf and collect a red ribbon from its tail to win a prize.
Stacy Sandlin, FMWR commercial sponsorship coordinator, emceed the activity and announced the children would have a challenge running to the calves due to the ankle-deep mud inside the pen.
The second intermission had the crowd loudly cheering as four teams of Soldiers participated in a “steer dressing.”
Soldiers from Companies A and C, 2nd Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment; Company C, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion; Company F, 309th MI Bn.; and the 18th Military Police Detachment, chased after loose steers inside the pen. The objective was to dress the animal in a large pair of panties in the quickest amount of time.
Company F, 309th MI Bn. won the challenge, receiving gift certificates and $100 for their unit fund. According to Eddie Willey, noncommissioned officer in charge, Company F, 309th MI Bn., there was a strategy involved in his team winning. He said keeping the steer as low to the ground as possible and using the tail to keep the underwear on were some of the tips the team used.
The Cochise College Rodeo not only benefits the community, but the Cochise College Rodeo Team as well, providing them with an arena close to home. In the final results, the Cochise College Women’s Team placed second while the Men’s Team placed fifth.
“The [weather] conditions were tough, but the guys and girls had a good attitude,” said Rick Smith, Cochise College rodeo coach.
The next rodeo for the collegiate competitors will take place March 15 – 16 at Central Arizona College in Florence.