For Mavs, it is their first rodeo
Colorado Mesa University’s rodeo team gave new meaning to the term “cow college” Thursday afternoon.
Members of the team, some on horseback, herded 15 steers across campus to promote the Maverick Stampede Rodeo at 7 p.m. today and Saturday at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.
It will be the first regional rodeo in decades CMU has hosted for schools in Colorado, Utah and Idaho, according to team member Megan McKee, a 20-year-old barrel racer and sophomore at Colorado Mesa. McKee said there weren’t enough team members or funds to host a rodeo in the past but that has changed.
“There will be eight or 10 of us competing and we hope it continues to grow,” she said.
Colorado Mesa Director of Development Peggy Lamm dreamed up the idea to promote the rodeo with a “steer stroll” of rodeo teammates leading steers from the south end of the campus on the lawn between Houston and Grand Mesa halls to a driveway between the Maverick Pavilion and sports practice fields on the north side of the campus.
“I thought it would be a fun way to get people excited about the rodeo,” Lamm said.
The stroll was more of a trot, with the cows bounding out of a trailer, sniffing some grass and then taking off for their final destination. The stroll was over in minutes, with only a couple of cattle straying from the pack, just a smidge of cow pie left scraped on the sidewalk and a subtle “farm scent” lingering in the air.
Students, faculty and a pack of toddlers from nearby Little Mavs Learning Center spread out along the stroll path to watch the event.
Faculty and staff received an email about the stroll and word had gotten around to most students, including CMU senior Jeff Thoele.
“We left class early so we could see them,” Thoele said.
“It’s safe to say you don’t see this on campus every day,” said his friend, senior Anthony Himes.
Victoria Piper, also a senior, said she was hoping the cows would “go wild.” Even though they didn’t, she hopes the stroll becomes a new tradition.
“I think they should start doing it every year,” she said.
Himes said he would hope for just one change about the stroll.
“I was hoping they would let me ride one,” he joked.