The stands of Alex G. Spanos Stadium will be filled this weekend with crowds of up to 11,000 people in their cowboy hats and boots, ready to cheer on the Cal Poly Rodeo Team as they compete in the 79th Annual Poly Royal Rodeo.
This high-energy event will take place on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13. Tickets are open to both Cal Poly students and the public.
There will be two concerts this year, starting with Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band on Friday and Casey Donahew Band on Saturday. Other special features will include a skydiving flag, a rodeo clown and a specialty act called the “Flying Cowboys.”
The Poly Royal Rodeo is the largest collegiate rodeo in the nation, according to Cal Poly Rodeo Team coach Ben Londo.
Animal science sophomore Tyree Cochrane was crowned Rodeo Queen of 2019 by winning the Queen Contest scholarship through written tests, on-stage interviews, speeches and competing in horsemanship.
She said there are multiple schools in the West Coast that Cal Poly’s rodeo team will be competing against, which include University of Nevada Reno, Feather River College, the University of Las Vegas, Lassen College, Cuesta College, West Hills College Coalinga, Allan Hancock College and Fresno State.
“I’m more excited than nervous. I’ve been doing rodeos my whole life so going into a rodeo is a normal feeling,” Cochrane said.
During the rodeo, Cochrane will be participating as a barrel racer, a goat-tier, breakaway roper and team roper. However, her duties go beyond competing.
“I will get to do a queen lap at the beginning of the rodeo, be in all the award presentations and I get to work more with the production of the rodeo.” Cochrane said.
Recreation, parks and tourism senior Lauren Ames participates in a class run by the rodeo team Londo where students plan and execute the rodeo. This is the first year they are doing a rodeo planning class and Ames said she believes the rodeo planning has been a lot more thorough this year because of it.
“One improvement is that the layout is going to make a lot more sense than it has in the past. It will be a lot easier for people get in and out of the stadium, get food or drinks,” Ames said.
The class has multiple committees including special events, facilities, social media, banquet, fundraising and sponsors.
“I think it’s interesting to be a part of this agriculture event, I’ve never really done any event like this,” Ames said, “I usually just work for weddings, so it’s been really fun to just see how they do things.”