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NMSU's Top-Ranked Rodeo Teams Compete at Home April 4-5

LAS CRUCES - New Mexico State University-home of the nation's top-ranked collegiate women's team, calf roper and all-around cowgirl-will host the region's final regular season rodeo April 4-5 at the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds west of Las Cruces.

New Mexico State University rodeo coach Jim Dewey Brown, right, picks up Chance VanWinkle after a saddlebronc ride during practice. NMSU, which has the nation's top-ranked women's team, calf roper and women's all-around leader, will host the region's final regular season rodeo April 4-5 at the Southern New Mexico Fairgrounds west of Las Cruces. (04/02/2003) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by J. VIctor Espinoza)

The latest rankings from the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association show the depth of NMSU talent this season. Six men and three women are in the top 25 national standings, with several ranked in more than one event.

"We've been dominant from the start this season," said rodeo coach Jim Dewey Brown. "This will give local fans the chance to see us in action."

NMSU's rodeo is the first promoted with ticket sales in some time, said Brown, who is in his first year as coach. Participating teams will be Central Arizona College, Cochise College, Dine College, Northland Pioneer College and the University of Arizona.

The long go will be Friday at 7:30 p.m., slack is Saturday at 9 a.m. and the short go is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. In addition to the collegiate competition, NMSU team members Clay Snure and Jarret Corn will host a match calf roping on Saturday following the slack. Tickets are $3 per evening event for adults and $1 for kids under 12. Admission is free on Saturday morning.

After seven rodeos in the Grand Canyon Region, the NMSU women are in first place nationally with 2,144.25 points, according to National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association standings released March 31. Leading the way is Mandy Sproul, a junior from Pearce, Ariz., who's atop the national all-around standings. Sproul, an agricultural economics and agricultural business major, is second in the national barrel racing standings, fourth in goat tying and 10th in breakaway roping.

Leah Stevenson, a senior social work major from Las Cruces, is second in the breakaway standings. Tori Koyle, a freshman agricultural biology major from Albuquerque, is 14th in all-around and 21st in goat tying.

Overall, the NMSU men's team is ranked ninth nationally. Snure, a junior agricultural economics and agricultural business major from Rodeo, N.M., is first in calf roping, eighth in the all-around and 22nd in team roping as a heeler.

NMSU has three other nationally ranked competitors in calf roping: Corn, a senior from Las Cruces, at No. 7; Cooper Wimberly, a freshman from Moriarty, at No.12; and John Pete Etcheverry, a junior from Carlsbad, at No. 24. All three are majoring in agricultural economics and agricultural business. Etcheverry is also 21st in the all-around standings.

In team roping, heeler Kody Gentry is 14th and header Jarred Evans is 20th

Given those rankings, Brown expects NMSU to have a healthy number of qualifiers for the College National Finals Rodeo June 8-14 in Casper, Wyo. Competitors who finish the season at first or second place in the region receive a bye to the CNFR. In addition, they can qualify for nationals at the conference finals May 29-31 in Hobbs.

"We have several who are in third place and need to do well at the rodeo here, which will wrap up the regular season," Brown said. For tickets, contact Brown at (505) 646-3659.