Aggies lasso new club, arena

By JoJo Brinkhoff
Entertainment Editor

Sports-ICONOn October 22, 2012, the Board of Trustees approved the purchase of the Neosho Arena and Saddle Club. The Neosho Arena and Saddle Club now called the Roughrider Arena, located near the Newton County fairgrounds, will be used by the agriculture department in conjunction with the founding of the Rodeo Club.

“Hardly any colleges around this area that offers rodeo, starting a rodeo club would promote Crowder to the equestrian world,” said Jay Wilkins, agriculture division chair and agriculture instructor.

In Jan. 2013 the Rodeo Club officially started with 10 members as part of the Aggie Club. Although Aggie Club members were involved in the rodeos during the ‘80s and the ranch rodeos in the ‘90s, this is the first Rodeo Club that Crowder will host.

“Our job is to get it going and to make it successful,” stated Travis Hayworth, freshman general agriculture major.

“We’re excited about it,” stated Travis Wormington, sophomore general agriculture major.

According to Jorge Zapata, agriculture instructor and club sponsor, discussion about starting a Rodeo Club arose before the purchase of the arena grounds.

Once word had surfaced that the Neosho Saddle Club and Arena was for sale in Sept. 2012, the next step was to find out how many students were interested in joining a Rodeo Club.

“One student interested is one thing,” Zappata said. “But, when you have 10 or 12 students that makes a big difference.”

With several students interested in the idea of a rodeo club, the need for an arena was critical.

According to Wilkins, the board saw a potential in the club and therefore was positive about purchasing the old arena which was at the point of bankruptcy.

The 8.75 acres that comprises the arena grounds was purchased for $13,281.82. The price for the arena included the announcers building, concession stand, parking lot and the bull riding and roping setup.

Regardless of the building and supplies that came with the purchase, the arena has required much attention. The old announcer building and fence will need remodeling while the brush and rocks need to be cleared from the arena, both inside and outside.

According to Zappata, students volunteered their time for the two days that they had scheduled to clean up the Roughrider Arena.

“The kids will be helping to promote it,” said Karen Fink, administrative assistant. “And they’ll be getting rewarded by gaining scholarships from it.”

One way, according to Zapata, the students are going to promote their new club is by entering in local rodeos with Crowder’s own ranch roping team.

“We have a lot planned for the arena,” said Zappata.

The Roughrider Arena will not be limited to the Rodeo Club using the grounds.

The Agriculture department hopes to use the arena for classes when required, according to Wilkins.

On August 16th and 17th, the Rodeo Club will host the American Cowboys Rodeo Association (ACRA) and International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) at the Roughrider Arena.

Future plans for the arena grounds include hosting events such as ranch rodeos, team roping, clinics and lessons, according to Zappata.

“Agriculture is more than plows and cows,” said Fink. “There is still an economic segment to the arena. In time, the community could rent the arena for a reasonable price.”

“We want it to be able to pay for itself,” stated Wormington.