The Cal Poly Rodeo Program
The Cal Poly Rodeo program is open to all students who comply with Cal Poly student athlete requirements. These requirements include:
- Purchase of a National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) card and compliance with NIRA eligibility requirements;
- Enrollment in AG 243-02 (Advanced Competitive Rodeo) during competing quarters;
- Attendance at scheduled practice sessions (varies by quarter), member meetings and program events; and
- Compliance with the Cal Poly Rodeo program member code and the Cal Poly student athlete code.
The Cal Poly Rodeo points team, which competes for team points throughout the competitive rodeo season, is selected at the coach’s discretion and is comprised of four women and six men, all of whom are also members of the Cal Poly Rodeo program. Apart from earning team points, individuals on the points team receive partial compensation for travel expenses and scholarships in-kind for boarding expenses.
Cal Poly Rodeo Faculty & Staff
Head Coach Ben Londo
As a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) cowboy since 2003, Ben Londo has amassed an admirable list of achievements, including three-time Saddle Bronc Champion for the Columbia River Circuit. Before he began competing in the PRCA, however, Ben was a proud Cal Poly Mustang who graduated in 2007 with a B.S. in Construction Management. During his time on the Cal Poly Rodeo Team, Ben earned Bareback Riding and All-Around Championship titles for two years running at the College National Finals Rodeo. Ben strives to build student’s strengths both inside and outside the arena - by stressing the importance of a commitment to both academics and practice. Under Ben’s guidance since fall of 2013, The Cal Poly Rodeo Team has continued to flourish as one of the most competitive college teams in the West Coast Region.
History of the Rodeo Boosters
Founded in 1972, the Rodeo Boosters is devoted to the promotion and preservation of the rodeo program at Cal Poly. Rodeo Boosters maintains constant communication with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, lobbying within the state school system as well as providing necessary funds to secure the future of the rodeo program. When the program was in danger of being shut down, it was Rodeo Boosters that stepped in and kept the historic rodeo tradition going.
The all-volunteer board of directors includes Rodeo Coach Ben Londo, along with a student and two parent representatives, ensuring that decisions made are in the best interests of the program.
Rodeo Boosters now focuses its attention on hosting fundraising events to raise money for scholarships, facility maintenance and improvements, and maintaining relationships with Cal Poly and the Colelge of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. For more information, visit the Rodeo Boosters Website.
The History of Cal Poly Rodeo
Since 1956, the Cal Poly Rodeo program has earned 44 national titles, making it one of the most winning programs in National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association history and bringing national recognition to Cal Poly and its supporters. The Cal Poly rodeo program dates back to the first intercollegiate rodeo held on the C Bar G Ranch near Victorville, Calif., on April 8, 1939, when 15 student athletes represented Cal Poly and competitors Jim Blake and Carl Miller began its winning tradition. In 1951, Cotton Rosser and Don Koester continued Cal Poly’s winning tradition in front of 4,000 spectators at the first Cal Poly Rodeo.
Cal Poly captured its first NIRA national title in 1960, with more to follow in 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973. Cal Poly continues to be a recognized force in college rodeo and has a long list of national champions. Some of the most talented student rodeo athletes have graduated from Cal Poly and gone on to compete – and win – in the professional rodeo circuit.
View more historical photos here.
West Coast Region
The NIRA is divided into 11 regions. Cal Poly Rodeo competes in the West Coast region along with five other schools: Feather River College, Fresno State, Lassen College, the University of Las Vegas Nevada, and West Hills College. Geographically, the region includes all of California and Nevada. The region hosts 10 rodeos and is comprised of nearly 225 members competing in the following rodeo events: Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Bull Riding, Tie Down Roping, Team Roping and Steer Wrestling for men; and Barrel Racing, Breakaway Roping, Goat Tying and Team Roping for women.
For more information on the NIRA West Coast region, click here.
The NIRA is the sanctioning body of college rodeo. They create and enforce rules governing the sport, handle national administration, and work with individuals and college programs to promote college rodeo. The mission of the NIRA is to foster and develop rodeo at the college level so that it will provide educational and competitive opportunities for students. The NIRA organization lives up to its motto of “preserving western heritage through collegiate rodeo” by hosting nearly 100 college rodeos each year for its more than 3,500 competing members. The association is made up of 137 schools and universities and is divided into 11 regions.
For more information on NIRA, please visit collegerodeo.com.
College National Finals Rodeo
Each college is allotted a 10-member team, consisting of six men and four women, to compete for team points at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR). These team points are earned by coach-selected individuals and count towards the team’s standing. At the end of the season, the top two point-earning teams in each region qualify to send a complete team to the CNFR. Athletes from each of the 11 regions compete throughout the season for these individual and team points. Individual points are awarded for placing 6th-place or higher in each respective event. At the end of the season, the top four point holders in each event qualify for the CNFR. At the CNFR, no season points are carried over to determine team and national titles. Instead, all national titles are determined through points earned at the CNFR.
For more information on the CNFR, please visit cnfr.com.