Rodeo Club has made a gallopin’ and wranglin’ return to ABAC’s campus. On Sept. 7, the club had its first meeting of the semester. Led by President Courtney Clair, the club met in Ag Science Building Room 139 to discuss the club’s goals and the opportunities within it.
The last mention students have probably heard of a rodeo club on campus was the 2022 Homecoming for the past teams’ alumni reunion party. Thanks to Officer Joey Woods and students like Clair, this is changing.
“ABAC had a rodeo team until 2009. As you can imagine, having a rodeo team can come with a lot of baggage, mainly the travel. The ABAC rodeo team is no longer in existence, but the remains are still around with the horse barn and arena,” said Clair.
Officer Woods is an ABAC Police Officer who spends much of his time giving back to ABAC by helping with the horseboarders at the campus barn and assisting all events that take place in the Rodeo Arena.
As an ABAC alumni and a former bull riding Rodeo Club member, Officer Woods wanted to restore the Rodeo Club to its glory days. With rodeo being such a significant part of ABAC culture, it is only reasonable to maintain the club’s presence on campus.
Clair became involved simply because she boarded her horse on campus and has a lifelong love for equine and rodeo.
“Flash forward to my last day of the spring semester as I am packing to go home, Officer Woods stops me and tells me he is planning to start the Rodeo Club up again and asked if I wanted to be a member,” said Clair.
Not only did she say yes, but Clair also offered to be president, someone Officer Woods already had in mind. After competing in the Florida High School Rodeo Association, she realized her love for rodeo was in education and promotion.
“In September, I am actually running for the title of Miss Rodeo Florida 2024. If chosen, I will represent Florida at different Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) Rodeos across the country and then go on to compete for Miss Rodeo America,” said Clair.
The Saint Cloud, FL native transferred to ABAC as an agriculture education major with nothing but love for southern culture and agriculture in her heart.
With the first meeting being a success, Clair has high hopes for the future. Clair said, “My plans for the rodeo club is to show students the opportunities in the sport of rodeo.”
“So many people my age go to college without a clue on what the heck they want to do after they graduate,” Clair continued, “and I would love for the Rodeo Club to help them figure out some options. There are so many pathways in rodeo besides competing, like production, marketing, sound, and owning the stock.”
Not only is the Rodeo Club extraordinary for those involved with its creation, but it is also a crucial piece of the ABAC community.
“Coming from a fast-growing town outside of Orlando, people don’t even think cowboys exist anymore. The idea of a rodeo is intriguing to people who don’t grow up in towns where it’s relevant,” said Clair.
While many believe ABAC is knee-deep in all things agriculture, the members of the Rodeo Club would like to see more discussion of rodeo.
“Although ABAC is known as a farm college, in my opinion, there is not as much knowledge on the sport of rodeo on campus. Rodeo is one of the only sports that relates to something you do in real life,” said Clair.
As Rodeo Club takes on the fall semester, the community can keep up with their events by following @abac_rodeoclub on Instagram.