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Student's Perspective Lane Santos-Karney

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Lane Santos-Karney was named the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Men’s Rookie of the Year in 2012. His horse Captain, who is three years older than Lane, earned the title of NIRA Horse of the Year. Lane will return to this year’s CNFR in all three timed events, and plans to pull Captain out of the pasture to make the trip. Dan Hubell Photo

As we get set to finish up another school year here at Cal Poly, we just wrapped up a great regular season on the rodeo side at our National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association West Coast Regional Finals at the South Point in Las Vegas. A lot of races came down to the wire, and Cal Poly had a strong showing. We’re excited to be sending strong Men’s and Women’s teams to the 2014 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo.

Whether a Cal Poly Mustangs team member, a member of the Cal Poly Rodeo Club or a student getting his or her first taste of the sport in the Rodeo Class here at Poly, it’s been an awesome year of working together to build on the great tradition of Cal Poly Rodeo. The benefits and advantages of a Cal Poly education are priceless, and as tough as it is to get accepted to Cal Poly these days (nearly 53,000 students applied for next fall and only about 5,600 will actually attend; Cal Poly is now the third most selective school in the state of California, behind only UC Berkeley and UCLA), I think we should all be pretty proud of our student-athlete successes in and out of the arena.

There are so many people to thank for the strength of this program, starting with President Jeff Armstrong, who has truly embraced Cal Poly Rodeo. We sincerely appreciate his support. Dr. Mark Shelton, who serves as the associate dean of Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, is another great supporter of Cal Poly Rodeo. And of course we’re always grateful to the Rodeo Boosters for working tirelessly to continue to grow this program generation after generation.

We have a new leader in Cal Poly Rodeo Coach Ben Londo this year, and it’s easy for me to brag on Ben, because I respect him in all areas of life. Ben, his wife, Becci, and their baby boy, Liam, are at the heart of today’s Cal Poly Rodeo Program. Ben was the NIRA champion bareback rider in 2004, and won NIRA all-around titles in both 2004 and 2005. On the ProRodeo side, he’s the reigning Columbia River Circuit year-end and circuit finals champ in the saddle bronc riding, and after qualifying for the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma the same weekend as Poly Royal did not hesitate to put the Green & Gold first. Ben’s a hard worker, and he’s all-in when it comes to Cal Poly Rodeo. Congratulations to Ben on being named the 2014 NIRA West Coast Region Coach of the Year.

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Cal Poly President Jeff Armstrong, far left, helped saddle sponsors Jean and Manfred Sander, and Miss Cal Poly Rodeo Kayla Nichol present the Poly Royal all-around saddle and buckle to 2014 Poly Royal Men’s All- Around Champion Lane Santos Karney, who captained the Mustangs to the Poly Royal Men’s Team Title.

Cal Poly Mustangs are often the last to roll into rodeo parking lots after staying to go to class and take tests. This year’s CNFR will be no different, as we need to be in Casper the end of spring-quarter finals week. That sometimes means arranging to take tests early and driving all night. But that’s just preparing us to balance the realities of life. I was noticing the other day in Vegas that three of the most prominent coaches in our region right now—Ben, Feather River’s Jesse Segura, who’s also the West Coast Region Adult Director, and West Hills’ Bruce Hunt—are all Cal Poly grads who “Learned by Doing” right here in San Luis Obispo.

Thank you sincerely for supporting Cal Poly Rodeo. We’re proud to carry on such a great tradition, and you really do make a difference.

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