Rodeo prepares for 40th annual Racer Roundup

Emily Harris/The News Jessica Roy, senior from Vera Cruz, Pennsylvania, rides her horse during practice Tuesday night.Emily Harris/The News Jessica Roy, senior from Vera Cruz, Pennsylvania, rides her horse during practice Tuesday night.
Emily Harris/The News Jessica Roy, senior from Vera Cruz, Pennsylvania, rides her horse during practice Tuesday night.

Emily Harris/The News Jessica Roy, senior from Vera Cruz, Pennsylvania, rides her horse during practice Tuesday night.

The Murray State Rodeo team opens the season with their first rodeo at Missouri Valley College rodeo in Marshall, Missouri on Sept. 24-26. They continue to the University of Western Alabama rodeo in Livingston, Alabama on Oct. 8-10.  The Murray State rodeo will be held at the William “Bill” Cherry Agriculture Exposition Center on Oct. 15-17.

Murray State has 50 students on the rodeo team. JD Vanhooser has been the head coach for 13 years.

“There is not one event I like more than the others,” Vanhooser said.

Senior, Kendall Gentry has been a part of the team since her freshman year. Gentry, barrel races her horse named Blue.

“Rodeo is a place where everyone is considered family and camaraderie is quite big.” Gentry said.

Emily Harris/The News Ellen Adams from McDonough, Georgia practices barrel racing for an upcoming college rodeo in Marshall, Missouri.

Emily Harris/The News
Ellen Adams from McDonough, Georgia practices barrel racing for an upcoming college rodeo in Marshall, Missouri.

Rodeo students are required to own their own horse and provide their own transportation to practice and shows.

“I love having my horse near campus,” Gentry said. “Like any athlete, practice is involved. Riding also helps relieve stress from class and everyday life. It’s like going on a run to clear your mind.”

After finishing in 16 place at the National Finals Rodeo, Gentry looks forward to her senior season.

– Reporting by Lily Harris