The Fresno State club rodeo team qualified six competitors for the College National Finals Rodeo from Sunday-Saturday, June 14-20, in Casper, Wyoming.
In his 19th year as Fresno State club adviser, Dr. Art Parham is sending his first complete women’s team comprised of four qualifiers, plus two men’s qualifiers. The Bulldoggers women capped the regular season ranked 11th nationally and second in the West Coast Region behind Feather River College.
Junior Tegan Turner (Lemoore) ranked second nationally in the barrel racing category (1,305 points) and fifth in the all-around category (1,771.5) and led the region in each category.
Senior McKenzie Hale (Clovis) also topped the region in the breakaway roping category and ranked 16th nationally (496.5). Sophomore Billie Holman (Visalia) ranked third regionally and 49th nationally in barrel racing (418), and freshman Jamie Geifer (Springville) was also selected in the breakaway category.
In men’s team rankings, Fresno State finished 31st nationally and third in the West Coast Region behind Feather River College and Cal Poly.
Sophomore Tyler Forsberg (Fillmore) ranked top 15 nationally in three events — team roping heeler (seventh, 689.5), all-around (12th, 1,551) and tie down roping (15th, 664.5) — and third regionally in each category.
Also qualifying for the men’s squad was senior Justin Lawrence (Exeter) who ranked 26th nationally and third regionally in the saddle bronc riding category (628).
“I’m very proud of how hard our team has worked together to be successful,” Parham said. “They’re already accomplished students, and have also proven themselves among the area’s best competitors, too. Their performances have attracted a lot of interest from supporters and scholarship sponsors like the Bronc Riders of California. We hope this is the start of bigger things, especially since we only have four seniors on the 22-person squad.”
To earn a national invitation, competitors must rank in the top 30 percent regionally in their event based on combined season scoring totals. Fresno State riders have competed at five West Coast Region events since September and capped the regular season in the regional final hosted by UNLV on April 24-25.
The Fresno State rodeo team dates back to 1946 and officially became a club in 1949 — the same year the first College National Finals Rodeo was held in San Francisco. Today, the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association sponsors more than 100 college rodeos that include 3,500 student members and 137 universities.