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NMSU women excel at first on-campus rodeo in decades

LAS CRUCES - A strong showing by the women's team and good support from students, faculty and the community helped make the New Mexico State University rodeo team's first on-campus rodeo in decades a solid success, said NMSU coach Jim Dewey Brown.

"We had really great school support and really good community support," Brown said of the Friday and Saturday event. "We pulled off a really good rodeo and it showed. Our support has grown just a little bit more by having it here."

NMSU hosts a Grand Canyon Regional rodeo each semester, which for many years had been held at the Southern New Mexico Fairgrounds, west of Las Cruces. Brown and others were determined to bring the rodeo back to campus this year. After extensive discussions and planning, a temporary arena was set up south of the Aggie Memorial Stadium for the two days of competition.

The Aggie women won first place each day, led on Friday by Krista Norell of Meeker, Colo., who took the women's all-around honors. The NMSU men finished third Friday and second Saturday.

The women were particularly strong in goat tying, taking five of the six top spots both days. In barrel racing, the NMSU women were nearly as dominant, taking five of the top six places on Friday and four of the top six spots Saturday.

The Aggie men overwhelmed the competition in calf roping Saturday, taking all four top finishes. In team roping, the men took five of the top six positions on Saturday. Daniel Etsitty of Kayenta, Ariz., normally a leading rough stock rider for NMSU, was sidelined with an injury both days.

Finishing first in their events Friday were Megan Corey of Bremerton, Wash., in goat tying; and Matt Garza of Mesilla Park, who team ropes with Chance Means of Central Arizona College. Second-place finishes went to Clint Phillipps of Douglas, Wyo., saddle bronc riding; Norell in barrel racing and goat tying; and team ropers Victor Perez of Corona, N.M., and Aaron Moyers of Moriarty. In third place for NMSU were Casey Talbot, Malaga, N.M., barrel racing; Bailey Gow of Roseburg, Ore., and Megan Wilkerson of Sonoita, Ariz., in a tie with another competitor in breakaway roping; J.W. Nicholson of Belen in steer wrestling; and Kevin Lozares of Mountain View, Calif., in calf roping. Fourth-place finishes went to Whitney Robinson of Mesilla Park in barrel racing; and Kayla Weiss Lange of Great Falls, Mont., in goat tying.

On Saturday, finishing first were Talbot in barrel racing; Julie Etchegaray of Eureka, Nev., in goat tying; and Joseph Gonzales of Roswell in calf roping. Second-place finishes went to Lange in goat tying; Arcel Allsup of Duncan, Ariz., in calf roping; and Allsup and Allen Tacker of Fabens, Texas, in team roping. Finishing third were Phillipps in saddle bronc riding; Meghan Jo Frie of Virden, N.M., in barrel racing; Gow in a three-way tie in breakaway roping; Nicholson in a tie in steer wrestling; Garrett Baker of Clayton, N.M., in calf roping; and Monte Topmiller of Silver City and Chance Van Winkle of Alto in team roping. In fourth place were Daren Albrecht of Veyo, Utah, in a tie in bullriding; Norell, Corey and a third competitor in a three-way tie in goat tying; Perez in calf roping; and Nate Mortensen of Virden, N.M., who team ropes with Chance Baldwin of Central Arizona College.

Brown's already thinking about next year's rodeo, which also will be on campus.

"I think we found a home for it," he said. He'd like to make some improvements in the meantime, such as better bleachers and lighting to enable a nighttime rodeo.
"We're really looking forward to next year," Brown said.