By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
ENMU rodeo head coach David Browder expects a good performance by his Greyhounds and Zias this weekend.
“You always want to come in with high expectations, and I think we have just as good of shot as anyone at winning our home town rodeo,” Browder said.
The Eastern New Mexico University rodeo team will once again host the first Southwest region rodeo of the season with this weekend’s College “Daze” Rodeo, starting tonight at 7 p.m at Lewis Cooper Arena.
“Traditionally, Eastern has always had the first rodeo of the season,” former longtime ENMU rodeo coach Charles Chambers said. “It’s sure is a big deal. Everybody’s excited to get off to a good start.”
ENMU’s challengers this weekend include defending national champion Ranger College and perennial power Tarleton State.
“Every team that comes in has got individuals that can win their event any time,” Browder said.
As ENMU prepares to host the opening rodeo of the season, home-field advantage isn’t as beneficial as it is in other sports. In fact, some might consider it to be a home-field disadvantage.
“A home rodeo is not an advantage because our kids are the ones that are producing the rodeo. They’re having to work,” Browder said. “The other kids just have to show up and rodeo, while our kids are the ones doing the work to produce the rodeo, so there’s really not much of a home-field advantage at all.”
“It’s hard, because each home rodeo they have to depend on all of the (home) contestants to run the rodeo; to load the chutes and to set up the barrels and to take care of everything else,” Chambers said. “The other students, all they have to do is concentrate on their event, whereas the home town people have to do all of their assignments.”
Browder said he expects the College “Daze” Rodeo to be the start of an exciting season for the Greyhounds and Zias.
“(We’ve) got a pretty young team, but (they’re) real talented. I’ve got high expectations and we’re looking for good things to happen,” Browder said. “They all have a lot of experience. I always try to make sure they come in with a lot of experience.”
Browder says his team leader for the Greyhounds is senior Jared Green, while Raelyn Gardner leads the Zias.
“I want to show the community and everyone here at the rodeo that ENMU rodeo is for real,” Browder said.
The College “Daze” rodeo begins tonight and runs through Saturday night and begins at 7 p.m. nightly at ENMU’s Lewis Cooper Arena.
“They’re ready to get started,” Browder said.