After winning their first West Coast region men’s rodeo team title in more than 30 years, seven members of the Bulldoggers rodeo club team arrived in Casper, Wyoming to compete in the College National Finals Rodeo June 9 through 15.
The College National Finals Rodeo will be broadcast live June 12 through 15 on ESPN3, a live digital network available on the WatchESPN website or app.
Fresno State’s club accumulated 7,674 points in the men’s national season standings, and trailed only the College of Southern Idaho (8,920) and Missouri Valley College (7,860). Fresno State topped the region standings ahead of Cal Poly, which finished second with 4,698 points and ranked 13th nationally.
Under the guidance of first-year coach Uhuru Adem, Fresno State is represented by seniors Colton Campbell (Klamath Falls, Oregon), Bodi Dodds (Sanger) and Rial Engelhart (Lakeview, Oregon); juniors Mitchell Parham (Clovis) and Christopher Rosedale (Kingsburg); sophomore Reed Neely (Sanger); and freshman Cole Dodds (Sanger). They are competing in five of the seven men’s events.
“This will be a fun group of student-athletes to watch at nationals,” Adem said. “I’ve seen how far they’ve come from when they were younger riders to where they are now, and they’ve been so supportive of each other. They’ve been really consistent all year long, and I’m proud that their commitment and hard work is paying off.”
In this season’s national standings, Campbell ranks in the top 25 in the all-around (eighth), tie-down roping (11th) and team roping header (24th) categories.
Four other men’s competitors rank top 20 nationally – Engelhart (fifth in tie-down roping, 18th in all-around), Parham (sixth in bareback), Neely (eighth in saddle bronc) and Cole Dodds (13th in tie-down roping).
Campbell will make his fourth nationals appearance after competing in four events the past three years. He placed seventh in team roping header in 2018, 19th in team roping header and 27th in tie-down roping in 2017 and fourth in team roping healer in 2016. His horse, Nic-N-Pine, also received the 2016 NIRA/American Quarter Horse Association Horse of the Year award.
Parham also competed at the finals last year and placed 23rd in bareback riding. Bodi Dodds was also a qualifier in 2017 and 2018, and Engelhart competed in 2017.
The men’s team earned its invitation based on a top-two regional team finish that combined scores from 10 competitions from September through early May. The Fresno State women’s team placed fifth regionally.
Two Fresno State men’s competitors led the region individual season standings – Engelhart (tie-down roping) and Parham (bareback bronc).
Freshman Haley Wilbur (Lodi) was the highest ranked Fresno State women’s individual in the region (sixth in goat tying). Five others ranked top 12 in their events – freshmen Savanna Morgan (Lincoln) and Andrea Poole (Clovis); sophomores Romey Stuhaan (Woodlake) and Nicole Tomasello (Cottonwood); and junior Kaitlyn DeMott (Santa Clarita).
In recent years, the women’s team advanced to the national event after second-place regional finishes in 2015 and 2016, and placed 12th and 10th, respectively, nationally.
Before becoming the club’s coach, Adem, a 2015 Fresno State agricultural business graduate, was a College National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc qualifier in both seasons that he competed for the team in 2013 and 2014.
Fresno State was coached the previous three seasons by another alumnus, Tony Branquinho, who stepped down from his position in the summer of 2018 to focus full-time on his family ranch near Arroyo Grande. Under his guidance in 2018, the men’s and women’s rodeo teams each ranked third in the region and were one place shy of advancing to the national finale.