Sixteen members of the Cuesta College Rodeo Club recently competed in the Cal Poly Open House Poly Royal Rodeo; the results combined with the cumulative season points place the men’s team as seventh best in the nation and second best in the West Coast Region. These students now head to the West Coast Regional Finals of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) competition, which includes college rodeo student athletes from California and Nevada.

Cuesta College student Will Centoni is among the students heading to the regional finals; Centoni took first place at the Poly Royal Rodeo in the men’s all-around in bull riding, and second place in the bronc riding. Also advancing are Cuesta College students Caden Clay, Tristan Ruffoni and Dalton Pearce, who placed fourth in the men’s team roping competition, Roman Reyes, who took home fourth place in bronc riding, Aaron Williams, who placed second in bull riding, and Shaley Stickler and Bailey Carron, who both placed in the barrel racing.

The top three competitors in individual events advance from regionals to nationals, as well as the top two men’s and women’s teams.

“If our men’s team holds its current second place position, they’ll be going to nationals,” said Rodeo Club Coach Clint Pearce. “We also have some of the best female rodeo athletes in the State. With the addition of next year’s in-coming female freshman, our women’s team could be one of the best in the region.”

The Rodeo Club, which was formed during the fall 2014 semester via the Associated Students of Cuesta College, consists of 30 members who are both passionate about rodeo and dedicated to their education; each member is a full-time Cuesta College student.

“Our regional standing is very significant as it places Cuesta College on the map for high school juniors and seniors around the State seeking out a great education at a high performing ‘Rodeo College,’” said Pearce. “Success attracts success, and students want to attend the college where the best competitors go. We have built a great program for Cuesta College that is attracting excellent student athletes.”

The Cuesta College Rodeo Club aims to motivate its student athletes to excel in the classroom and the rodeo arena. Students must maintain good grades and stay fully engaged in their collegiate experience in order to remain eligible to compete. The club has forged a partnership with Cal Poly and practices at the Cal Poly rodeo arena alongside the university’s rodeo club members.

Pearce, his wife Connie (Assistant Coach and “team Mom”) and Rodeo Club Advisor Dr. Anthony Koeninger, will accompany the students to the regional finals in Las Vegas, NV, May 5-6, 2016. The College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) will take place in Wyoming in June 2016.

For more information on the Rodeo Club, please contact the Associated Students of Cuesta College (ASCC) office at (805) 546-3289.