Rodeo Newsletter - Spring 2021

Rodeo cover title

Letter from the Head Coach

Dean Andrew J. Thulin

Cal Poly Rodeo Community,

We have been through a challenging couple of years. We faced a shutdown and two consecutive years without our showcase event and primary fundraiser. However, with all of those setbacks, we had the opportunity to reconnect with what is important. 

We have been extremely blessed to be able to provide our student-athletes with practice opportunities and a sense of normalcy. Since fall 2020, it’s been unclear if we could have any rodeos or any season at all. Sports and club activity were under heavy restrictions, and it was clear that we, as a region, would have trouble hosting rodeos on campuses. As a coach, I needed to find a way to keep these student-athletes motivated and to keep goals and progress in front of them.

The circumstances forced us to think outside of the box. Collectively, as the West Coast Region, other coaches and I decided to host some non-school affiliated rodeos at neutral locations, giving us the opportunity to host competitions so that our individual members could compete for points and earn their spot to move on to the College National Finals. That was our biggest goal this year: to ensure -- even if we couldn’t claim a team at the rodeos -- that we could send talent from the West Coast Region to compete on the big stage in Casper, Wyoming.

The Coarsegold Rodeo Committee and the Tehama County Fairgrounds stepped up in a big way, offering their facilities and resources at next-to-no costs. Our stock contractor community also came through with donations to help fund our hybrid season and keep our costs down. 

By the beginning of February, we went from no season at all to having six rodeos on the books – three in Coarsegold and three in Red Bluff. Ric Griffith, Michael Gaughan and the SouthPoint Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, stepped up late in the season to host our West Coast Regional Finals, which added two more rodeos to our regular season. Thanks to many efforts on all fronts, we had a legitimate season and an opportunity for our rodeo athletes to shine. It’s amazing how generous and willing the rodeo community always proves to be when times get tough. 

As we finish our regular season, I’m proud to say that we are sending some extremely talented individuals off to the College National Finals Rodeo. Despite reduced budgets, a pandemic, hardships and restrictions, we kept our heads down and kept digging. I’m proud to say it feels like we have made it through the tunnel and can see the light on the other side. 

To all our Mustang Rodeo community, your next line of Mustangs have worked hard to show their talents this year, and they have made us all proud. Good luck at the CNFR to this year’s qualifiers!





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