Cal Poly’s Theory and Practice of Rodeo class (AG 243) does not meet in the classroom — not even once. The students gather at the rodeo grounds and spend each class working with Ben Londo, the coach of Cal Poly’s rodeo team.
“It’s basically a cultural class that gets to teach people, who may not have any or very little experience about rodeo, the history of rodeo, how [it has] evolved, how the sport has come to be and what [it has] evolved to today,” Londo said.
Students say they agree the class embodies the celebrated Cal Poly motto.
“This is totally learn by doing,” philosophy senior Zach Baker said. “I’ve literally grabbed a bull by the horns and [thrown] him down.”
Some students, such as business senior Jeremy Lung, enjoy AG 243 despite not originally knowing what the class would entail.
“[The class is] actually more than what I expected. I didn’t really know what to expect other than we’d be lassoing things, but it’s actually more than that,” Lung said. “We’ve figured out what rodeo is, how it works and how we treat the animals.”
The class is composed of students from all different backgrounds. While some have grown up around rodeos, others have never been this close to such animals before. Whatever their experience level, this class throws them into a hands-on experience.
“You’re out there tying real calves, real goats, you’re learning everything that kids starting rodeo would be doing the exact same way,” the class TA Marina LeVine said.
AG 243 therefore does embody what the university is all about: learning by doing.