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NMSU To Compete for National Rodeo Honors

LAS CRUCES - The nationally ranked New Mexico State University women's rodeo team will compete for the national crown June 12-18 at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. Seven members of the men's team are also national qualifiers.

Chelsee Byerley of Gallup rounds a barrel during the New Mexico State University rodeo April 30 in Las Cruces. Byerley, the number three barrel racer in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association's Grand Canyon Region, helped lead the NMSU women's rodeo to a top national ranking. She'll compete at the College National Finals Rodeo June 12-18 in Casper, Wyo. (06/10/2005) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by Darrell J. Pehr)

"It ought to be a really good rodeo," said NMSU rodeo coach Jim Dewey Brown. "I have high hopes for the women's team, and the men should do really well."

Brown's advice for his team was simple. "Just ride smart and rope smart."
It has been more than 20 years since an NMSU women's team has won a national title. Brown said NMSU women's teams captured national championships in 1975 and 1976, and a team in the 1980s finished second. He attributes the current success to solid recruiting and multitalented athletes.

"The top ranking shows everybody else that we're growing up and we're going to be a force," Brown said.

Those competing at nationals include barrel racers Wylene Penrod of Laveen, Ariz., and Chelsee Byerley of Gallup; women's all-around competitor Bailey Gow of Roseburg, Ore.; Kayla Weiss of Great Falls, Mont., in goat tying; and Janelle Manygoats of Winslow, Ariz., in breakaway roping.

NMSU men competing will be bareback rider Clay Houston of Seminole, Texas; saddle bronc rider Clint Phillipps of Douglas, Ariz.; bullrider Justin Sanderlin of Morenci, Ariz.; team ropers Nate Mortensen of Virden and Matt Garza of Mesilla Park; and calf roper Wacey Walraven of Datil. Grand Canyon Region student director Arcel Allsup of Duncan, Ariz., can compete in one event for NMSU.