AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Clarendon College’s rodeo team has been turning heads this season with their first ever college championship wins- the first at Portales, and the second at Sul Ross State.
“Its phenomenal," said rodeo coach Bret Franks. "I knew when I came aboard that with the facilities here, I had hopes that I could do it.”
Franks has been at Clarendon for four years, trying to build a winning culture and up the recruiting efforts.
“Get the right kids here and change the culture-it takes four or five years to change that and the mentality of the kids, and the way they wanna win, and getting them to buy in to our program, and the way we do things," said Franks. "Its working.”
Tegan Smith came to Clarendon from Iowa, and won the Saddle Bronc event in Portales- playing a huge role in the team’s win.
“I wanted to come down here and make a statement, and I think its been working,” said Smith.
He says the team has a strategy,and it’s resulted in the wins.
“Keep taking it one horse at a time,one bull. Just do your job on that one,” explained Smith.
There’s a lot that goes into the sport that makes it that much harder to get everything right.
The athletes have to take care of their animals and build trust with them, stack up against bigger schools competing at their level, and make every ride count.
It helps to have a state-of-the-art facility to practice in.
“Its all set up here for you to win, and just using it is all you,” expressed Smith.
With all of the program’s success, dreams are coming closer to reality.
“Most of the kids here dream of being able to compete as a professional, its just like college level sport," said Franks. "Its like most of the guys in college football are trying to make it to the NFL.”
But after making school history, no one on the rodeo team will ever forget Clarendon College.
“Its pretty cool to know that even when I’m 80, when this school is probably going to be the best rodeo school in the country, that I was part of the first team to win a college rodeo here,” explained Riggin Smith, Tegan’s teammate and cousin.
Clarendon College will compete at the WTAMU Collegiate Rodeo on October 11th through 13th at the Amarillo National Center.