TSU adds rodeo team

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 15, 2002

Features Editor

Troy State University officials formally announced yesterday that TSU will field an intercollegiate rodeo team beginning fall semester of 2002.

Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., chancellor of the Troy State University System, made the announcement at the 45th annual Southeastern Livestock Exposition Rodeo at Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

"This program has received a tremendous amount of support in southeast Alabama and across the nation," Hawkins said. "There is a wonderful spirit surrounding the formation of this rodeo team and I am looking forward to the day when the Trojan Rodeo Team competes for a national championship."

Hawkins added that the popularity of rodeo and equestrian events in southeast Alabama makes it a natural collegiate sport for TSU.

"This program is born of a real demand from potential students in our primary service area," he said. "I am gratified by the enthusiastic reception intercollegiate rodeo has received in the heart of Trojan country."

The TSU chancellor emphasized that the rodeo team would not have been possible without the "groundswell" of support" from the university, the Troy and Pike County communities, TSU alumni and friends.

Dave Barron, director of public affairs at TSU, said the spirit of America, the spirit of Troy State University and the spirit of rodeo are coming together and he is excited about what the future holds for the university and the young men and women who will come to TSU to be a part of this rodeo team.

More than 100 students had contacted the university about the rodeo program before it was officially announced yesterday.

Dr. Don Hines, rodeo team advisor, said the rodeo team will attract students who have not been reached before and is bringing more people on the local level into active involvement with the university.

"The Pike County Cattlemen are providing an outstanding facility for our rodeo team," he said. "Without it, none of this would be possible."

Hines, joined Hawkins, in expressing appreciation to the cattlemen’s association and

Mike Griffin, president of the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association, responded by saying the cattlemen were proud to have the opportunity.

"The Cattlemen are proud to be a part of this new sporting event at TSU," he said.

"This is good for TSU and good for the community. It is a quality program and we are proud to be a part of it and that we can be a part of it."

Johnny Williams,

director of athletics at TSU,

directed his attention to the cowboys and cowgirls in the crowd who were wearing the TSU rodeo logo.

"You are now Trojans," he said. "We welcome you to the TSU family. Then he presented them with a challenge. " We look forward to a championship caliber rodeo team at Troy State University."

Williams said, he, too, expects an influx of new students at TSU now that it’s official that the university has a rodeo team. And, for good reason, "We’re the only university between us and the Bahamas that has a rodeo team."

TSU will compete in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA), which is composed of 135 member schools across the nation. TSU will compete in the NIRA Ozark region, which includes Mississippi State University, Michigan State University, University of Tennessee-Martin, the University of West Alabama and Southern Arkansas University.