Pictured: Monte Jensen (center) receives the cash donation for the collegiate rodeo team.
The USU Eastern Rodeo Team was the benefit of over $1,700 on Friday as the team was awarded the dollar amount in cash after a successful fundraiser on June 10 and 11 hosted by the Doreen and Clyde McCourt along with Joe and Vic Sacco.
The rodeo team is the first for the school in over twenty years since the former team was discontinued in 1995 at the then-College of Eastern Utah.
After the twenty-year siesta from corrals and bulls, several key individuals who felt the lack of the program took action to bring it back to the community.
“The idea was that we are very much in an area where rodeo is a big part of a lot of people’s lives,” said USU Eastern Vice chancellor Greg Dart in explaining where the idea to resurrect the program came from. Wanting to have the best possible relationship with the surrounding community, the option to bring the program back seemed a viable option for the school.
Besides Dart, Leon McElprang as well as Monte Jensen voiced their support and were instrumental in helping the program to start. “It was really their determination that made it happen,” Dart expressed in regards to McElprang and Jensen, who also serve as coaches for the team.
As of last week, a total of six local athletes, three male and three female, were committed to attend Eastern and highlight the team, with more members pending after the team’s recruiting efforts at the national rodeo competition.
“We could potentially have a team of up to 12 for this coming year,” Dart expressed.
The total amount of $1,750 raised by the fundraiser will directly assist both in recruiting of student athletes and helping them with their schooling in the form of scholarships.
“Every bit of it will go to helping those students to pay for their education,” Dart said, “Which is really nice.”
“Donations like that are such a big part of what we need to make a program such as rodeo run,” he continued, “and I think it just shows that that’s a program that the community is very much behind.”
The team will take part in its first rodeo the second week of September. Dart, however, is excited for the final week in the same month when the team will host their first home rodeo at the Carbon County Fairgrounds with help from Carbon County Recreation, the fairgrounds and the Carbon County Sheriff’s Posse.
“We’re really doing what we can to make more of an outreach to the local community,” Dart testified.