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Coach's Corner Ben Londo

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The Cal Poly Rodeo Team that will represent the Mustangs at the 2014 College National Finals Rodeo in June includes, left to right, Taylor Santos- Karney (an Agricultural Systems Management Major from Creston, Calif.); Lane Santos-Karney (Agricultural Communications, Creston, Calif.); Colton Farquer (BioResource and Agricultural Engineering, Oakdale, Calif.); Chase Bowen (Agricultural Business, Bishop, Calif.); Kelly O’Day (Animal Science, Fortuna, Calif.); Coach Ben Londo (Cal Poly Construction Management graduate); Alexa Karkula (Animal Science, Sanger, Calif.); Emily Cary (Animal Science, Alpine, Calif.); Kayla Nichol (Agricultural Business, Cottonwood, Calif.) and Brooke Hirschy (Animal Science, Jackson, Mont.). Becci Londo Photo

What a successful finish to a great season. After a tight, year-long battle, our Cal Poly Men’s Team was able to bring home the West Coast Regional Men’s Team title, and our Women’s Team ended up reserve champions by a close margin. We have an amazing amount of talent in this program, and with so many of them only freshmen, we will be very competitive for many years to come. Although all of the Mustangs contributed to the regional placings in one respect or another, we can only field a handful for the chance at a national title. As we head off to the College National Finals Rodeo, I am excited about the two teams we will be taking to Casper, Wyo., as it will be one of the more competitive overall teams I have seen in awhile.

Leading the charge to the Men’s Team regional victory and winning first and second in the all-around race were the Santos-Karney boys. Taylor (the 2014 West Coast Region AA Champion) and Lane (2014 West Coast Region Reserve AA Champion and Steer Wrestling Champion) both displayed dominating performances in all three of their events throughout the season. They are both extremely good hands and feed off of the pressures of competition; I am excited to take both of them to the CNFR in the team roping, tie-down roping and steer wrestling. Colton Farquer, another stellar freshman, will be representing Poly at the CNFR in the tie-down roping. I look forward to his ability and supreme work ethic paying off at the national level. Chase Bowen, freshman bareback rider, will be right at home getting on the level of horses we will see at the CNFR, as he has the ability to ride all kinds of horses extremely well. Kelly O’Day will round out our Men’s Team at the finals in the steer wrestling. His aggressive mentality and talent promise to make a splash in Casper.

Our Women’s Team will be led by Brooke Hirschy (West Coast Regional Reserve AA Champion). She will be breakaway roping and barrel racing at the finals; events she is extremely competitive in and brings the CNFR experience with her, as she has qualified multiple times. Emily Cary and Kayla Nichol will ride for the green and gold in the barrel racing, and their horsepower and ability will be a threat amongst the competition they will see there. Freshman Alexa Karkula has shown amazing ability all year in her events and has been a standout in the breakaway roping, finishing third in the region after a close race all year. She will breakaway rope in Casper, and will be sure to show the nation that these Cali girls can rope.

I couldn’t be prouder of all of our young student athletes in the program. They are working hard in the practice pen, taking care of business in the arena and staying on top of their academics, as well. Cal Poly represents the best and the brightest, and this group shows it daily. These students are making me proud to be a part of the Cal Poly Rodeo Legacy every day. Now we will head back to the CNFR to show that enthusiasm to the rest of the world and show them what we can…and will…do.

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