The first student-athlete performance of the Cal Poly Rodeo kicked off Friday night.
The rodeo is sold out through the weekend and competitors say they appreciate the strong show of support from the community.
College athletes from across California showed off their wrestling, roping, and riding skills on Friday night.
“It’s really great to see kids across the country pursuing their dreams in the classroom and in the rodeo arena,” said Tyree Cochran, a competitor and grad student at Cal Poly.
Some of the competitors are already in the big league.
“A lot of these college rodeo kids are also pro-rodeoing while college rodeoing, which is unique to our sport,” explained Cochran.
The night began with a tribute to local law enforcement.
“Tonight is bucking for blue and my father, John Blank, has been with the sheriff’s department for almost 30 years. He will be retiring this year, so it feels super special to be up tonight,” said competitor and Cal Poly grad student Jefflyn Blank.
The Kristin Smart Case was also front and center as Podcaster Chris Lambert was honored alongside the lead investigator and prosecutor in the case.
The competition then kicked off with student-athletes from Quincy to Fresno State and Cal Poly all taking part.
“There are no words that describe how it feels to be a part of this team. We have almost 100 students on our team. There’s just so much love between one another and so much support,” explained Blank.
“The rodeo culture on the Central Coast is amazing. I’ve been involved since I was three years old. I was born and raised in San Luis Obispo,” added Cochran.
The first night of competition was sold out and the stands were packed.
“I’m excited to see the bull riders and how long they can stay on,” said Bernadette Stehly.
“It was really cool. We were out here on college night and there were so many people. The bleachers were packed,” added Camille Cotter.
The rodeo action continues Saturday with the finals kicking off at 6:30 p.m.
The ultimate goal for students is to compete in the college national finals rodeo in Casper, Wyoming.