Top rodeo coaches give advice on what high school rodeo members need to know about college rodeo.
1. WHAT ARE THE 3 BIGGEST FACTORS A HIGH SCHOOL RODEO ATHLETE SHOULD CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A SCHOOL WITH A RODEO PROGRAM?
- Dr. Al Wagner, Texas A&M University Rodeo Coach They should consider: academics, reputation of the program, scholarship help available and the facilities. - Mark Eakin, Tarleton State University Head Rodeo Coach Find a school that they truly love, find the coaching staff that will take them to whatever level they want to go to, and find one that has a coach that will be as passionate as they are about the event they compete in.
2. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE AT YOUR SCHOOL OF BEING ON THE RODEO TEAM AND “BEING ON THE TEAM (WHERE IT COUNTS FOR POINTS)” — IS THERE A DIFFERENCE FINANCIALLY IN SUPPORT FOR THE ATHLETE?
- Paul Brown, Hill College, Rodeo Coach / Athletic Director The only difference from being on the team (10 members) and not on the team is that team members are given travel money to attend the college rodeos, this could change at every rodeo. -- Mark Eakin, Tarleton State University Head Rodeo Coach The four women and the six men with the most points receive travel money for the next rodeo. Every athlete gets to compete but the points determine who gets the travel money.
3. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMPETING AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL AND AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL?
-- Paul Brown, Hill College, Rodeo Coach / Athletic Director The collegiate level of competition is tougher, think about all the really good people you compete against and add athletes from around the world and those are your competitors. There will be students that are successful at the PRCA level and some have already competed at the NFR. If you can step it up a notch then you will be successful! -- Dr. Al Wagner, Texas A&M University Rodeo Coach The competition level is stepped up. Mom's and Dad's are still their coaches but cannot be in the arena roping boxes etc.
4. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU GIVE STUDENTS WHEN LEARNING HOW TO PRIORITIZE THE RESPONSIBILITIES (SCHOOL, PRACTICE AND RODEOS).
-- Paul Brown, Hill College, Rodeo Coach / Athletic Director First and for most you are getting a scholarship to be a student athlete, so grades are important. You are not going to do the institution any good competing one semester then flunking out of school. The NIRA requires you to be a full time student maintaining a 2.0 GPA passing 24 hours per year, this is the minimum - don’t make this your goal. You should give your studies whatever time it takes to make you successful. Practice is important but it should be second to your classes. Some institutions work with you as an athletic program allowing you to make up work that is missed, some don’t and you have to stay on top of your school work. We practice every evening to allow each student athlete the opportunity to hone their skills. Some athletes necessitate a job which cuts into both school and practice but a student athlete has do whatever it takes to be successful and enjoy the sport that they love.
- Dr. Al Wagner, Texas A&M University Rodeo Coach Academics comes first at Texas A&M. If you do not take of your academic work first, you will not be around to college rodeo.
5. WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD STUDENTS AND PARENTS BE ASKING NOW?
-- Mark Eakin, Tarleton State University Head Rodeo Coach Student athletes should contact the University or school they are interested in, and they need to find out if they have the programs and degree they are wanting. They also need to contact the rodeo coach and let them know they are wanting to be a part of their team. -- Dr. Al Wagner, Texas A&M University Rodeo Coach They should ask when is the deadline to apply for admission, is the major they want offered at the school and how is the scholarship program structured. -
-- Paul Brown, Hill College, Rodeo Coach / Athletic Director The student athlete should be checking out every institution that they might be interested in. Compare facilities and practice arrangements, location of school to other activities (remember there are only ten college rodeos), and cost of attendance. Some students jump at the first school that offers them a scholarship and if that is where you are dreaming on attending then great. The cost of attendance is dramatically different at schools even across Texas. The twoyear institutions are approved by SACS and offer the exact same courses that you will take at an university at about half the cost, and then you can transfer to any 4-year institution that you want to finish your degree. The next few years will be a time that will impact the rest of your life!