ENMU cowboys pursuing different career paths

By Kevin Wilson

A few weeks after impressive finishes at the College National Finals Rodeo, a pair of Eastern New Mexico University team members are working their own circuits.

Royce Lynch, a senior-to-be for ENMU, is currently trying to get in as many rodeos as he can for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

“I’ve had some good weeks, I’ve had some bad weeks,” Lynch said of his summer. “That’s how it plays out, I guess.”
Lynch took a no time early on in the tie-down roping competition, but rebounded to have what he considered a solid performance in Casper, Wyo.

“Other than my first calf, I think I roped well,” Lynch said. “I won a round … I think it went pretty well.”

Lynch posted the fastest time of the rodeo on a later run.
“Once you get over the fact that you don’t have a shot at a national title, you want to step up and show people why you’re there,” Lynch said. “Our region is one of the best in the nation. You know what you’re trying to represent, and show them what it’s all about.”

Lynch now has motivation to go back to Casper next year, and he admits that he wants to continue a rodeo career after college.

“I want to win the region (in 2005),” Lynch said. “I just want to keep improving every year, figuring out what it takes to be the best and try to figure out how to make a living at it.”

Tabor Smith, who competed in team roping, felt his first and last CNFR went well.

“I think we did good,” Smith said. “I’d liked to have placed. I was happy to win a round.”

Smith and his partner, Colby Schneman of Tarleton State, regrouped from a no time in the second round and posted a time of 4.7 seconds. It was the fastest time in the history of the Casper Events Center.

“ I just felt like I was going to be as fast as I could my third round,” Smith said. “I roped as fast as I could. It was Friday night, so there were a lot of people there.”

Smith plans a career away from rodeo, as he is set to attend chiropractic school this fall. For now, he is working at Valley Electric and he goes to team roping competitions with his coworkers.

“We’re always trying to win a little bit of money,” Smith said. “It’s fun, but that’s why you go.”

Kendra Jones could not be reached for comment. Jones placed 11th in the nation in goat tying.