They say the show must go on, and at the Eastern New Mexico University College Daze Rodeo on Sept. 19–21, it sure did.
Despite lingering dark clouds after that Thursday’s storm, about 500 contestants from 17 schools showed their skills and played in the mud to see who would be the champion of each of nine events. From the ENMU rodeo team, both Taren Washburn and Madelyn Schauer were in the top 10 in their events, with Washburn competing in the team roping and Schauer earning a spot in the barrel racing as well as the goat tying. Overall, the ENMU women’s team placed third for the weekend.
“I thought we had a great rodeo,” said ENMU rodeo coach Albert Flinn. “The competition was strong…the arena was in good shape and we had good crowds.”
Beyond the stiff competition, contestants, coaches and spectators all appreciated the hospitality the Portales community demonstrated. Portales ministry Catch the Vision was on hand throughout the weekend, helping to run the rodeo, as well as providing live streaming for family too far away to attend. The group also runs the food tent, which provided affordable meals to contestants, in addition to free s’mores, drinks and cheese sticks.
Even other coaches recognize the effort ENMU puts in for the contestants. Texas Tech rodeo coach Jerrad Hofstetter said about his athletes, “It seems like every year the weather’s bad, but it never bothers them … as far as they know that when they come here, they’re wanted here.” Catch the Vision leaders Charles and Beverly Bennett, as well as Flinn, were focused on hosting a great rodeo, not only in the arena and the competition, but in the atmosphere around the grounds as well. The sports teams at ENMU pitch in to help with the events of other teams under the guidance of Catch the Vision.
“The rain and mud made a hard job harder, but I rarely saw any of the helping hands without a smile on their face,” ENMU rodeo athlete Amanda Brown stated.
Hofstetter said, “The best part about a rodeo is how they make you feel when you’re there.” Several contestants at the rodeo said the ENMU rodeo team made them feel welcome, and that made all the difference.