What is a cowboy without his saddle, boots, spurs and chaps?
For Fresno State Bulldogger Uhuru Adem it could mean missing out on the chance to become the nation’s No. 1 Saddle Bronc rider after a truck containing his custom-made saddle and rigging bag was stolen Sunday, March 17, in Clovis.
Now his teammates are mounting a public appeal for the return of the gear.
Already the reigning champion of the West Coast region, Adem was planning to compete at the Fresno State Intercollegiate Rodeo Friday and Saturday , March 22 -23, at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds.
Twelve college teams from throughout the West Coast region will compete. The top three in each category advance to the nationals.
Adem was expected to earn a spot in the College National Finals Rodeo in June, but without his custom gear that dream is on hold.
“It was custom made for him,” said Dr. Art Parham, Fresno State Animal Science Department chair and team coach. “He lost his rigging bag which had his boots, spurs and chaps — all the necessities for a cowboy.”
Teammate Kelsey Hayden describes Adem as, “very humble and will not ask for help himself” so his teammates are asking the public’s help.
“Rodeo is his life and his dream is to be the best Saddle Bronc rider,” Hayden said. “He is already number one on the West Coast and we hope he can achieve his dream to be number one in the nation. But he needs his own gear. The competition is tough and he can’t afford to lose this rodeo.”
Adem and his friends scoured swap meets on Sunday and online auctions hoping the saddle and rigging bag might turn up. They are hoping to raise funds to replace it but it won’t be in time for this weekend’s regionals, so they may put any money raised towards a reward.
Anyone with information about the saddle and rigging bag may call the Fresno State Police Department’s tip line at 559.664.3204 or email email@example.com to anonymously report its whereabouts. Fresno State Chief David Huerta said university police will work with the Clovis Police Department, sharing any anonymous tips received.
For more information, call Parham at 559.278.2971 or Hayden at 916.759.9233.