Members of OSU's national championship rodeo team will sign autographs at the Stillwater rodeo on Aug. 17 and 18 at the Double D-R Arena, northwest of Stillwater.

Stillwater's International Professional Rodeo Association rodeo is a fund-raiser to benefit Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency's Crisis Intervention Services, the Mission of Hope homeless shelter and Stillwater Community Health Center.

"Our students realize the good work that COCAA does to help people in the community and we look forward to participating in the event and signing autographs," says Terry Hyman, rodeo team adviser and coordinator of freshman programming for OSU's University Academic Services.

The OSU Women's Rodeo Team brought home its first national team championship from the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, WY, in June, in which 450 contestants from 96 schools competed.

"OSU has won regional competition as a team, but this is the first national championship for the team," Hyman says.

Business management sophomore Janae Ward of Addington, OK, led an outstanding group of Cowgirl barrel racers, winning the individual championship for barrel racing and is currently ranked seventh worldwide by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association. Her horse, Cole and Cole, received the coveted American Quarter Horse Association Horse of the Year award.

Education senior Julia Warner of Sapulpa, OK, and undecided freshman Gretchen BenBenek of Billings, MT, also won second and fourth place national championships, respectively, in the barrel racing final go-round. Animal science senior Shannon Herrmann of Ft. Smith, AR, also participated in the barrel racing competition.

"The members of our women's rodeo team are outstanding athletes and are also very focused on academics and attaining their degrees," Hyman says.

Fire protection technology junior Benny Barnes of Mangum, OK, also competed at the College National Finals Rodeo in team roping, and agricultural economics senior Wade Hudspeth of Pilot Point, TX, qualified but was unable to compete due to a broken hand.

This summer, three members of the OSU Men's Rodeo Team also are ranked in the top 20 worldwide in calf roping by the International Professional Rodeo Association.

Business management senior Trent Creager of Pawnee, OK, is ranked first in calf roping, while Hudspeth is ranked 17th, and business junior J.R. Magdeburg of Cushing, OK, is ranked 19th.

Former OSU student Jet McCoy of Tupelo, OK, is ranked as the top IPRA All-Around athlete, with rankings in bareback bronc riding (9th), bull riding (8th) and saddle bronc riding (3rd).

OSU was one of 13 founding members of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association established in 1947. OSU's reputation as a timed-event school began that year when OSU won the national calf roping event.

Over the years, membership has fluctuated, Hyman says, but is now back on the rise. "There were only eight OSU students on the rodeo teams when I got involved in 1995," Hyman says. "Last year there were 72 OSU students with membership cards.

The Double D-R Arena is located on north Country Club Road, one-eighth mile south of Lake McMurtry Road. Admission is $5 in advance and $6 at the gate. Tickets are available at the Stillwater Community Center, the Territory Western Apparel and from rodeo queen contestants. For more information, call the COCAA office at 405-624-2533.

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