College Rodeo
From Show to Sport
Sports - Western History
6.125 x 9.25, 378 pp.
60 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 03/22/2004
Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University
  cloth
Price:        $29.95

978-1-58544-331-4

Published by Texas A&M University Press
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College Rodeo

From Show to Sport

By Sylvia Gann Mahoney
Foreword by Tuff Hedeman

Guts and glory, bulls and barrel racing, spurs and scars are all part of rodeo, a sport of epic legends. Cowboys and cowgirls use brain and brawn to contend for prizes and placement, but more often than not, it is the prestige of honorable competition that spurs them on. College Rodeo covers the history of the sport on college campuses from the first organized contest in 1920 to the national championship of 2003.

In the early years of the twentieth century, a growing number of kids from farms and ranches attended college, many choosing the land grant institutions that allowed them to prepare for agricultural careers back home. They brought with them a love for the skills, challenges, and competition they had known—a taste for rodeo. The first-ever college rodeo was held at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. It offered bronco busting, goat roping, saddle racing, polo, a greased pig contest, and country ballads from a quartet. The rodeo was a fund-raising effort that grew enormously popular; by its third year, the rodeo at Texas A&M drew some fifteen hundred people. The idea spread to other campuses, and nineteen years later, the first intercollegiate rodeo with eleven colleges and universities competing was held in 1939 at the ranch arena of an entrepreneur near Victorville, California.

Seldom does a college sport exist for eighty years without having a book written about it, but college rodeo has. Sylvia Gann Mahoney has written the first history of the sport, tracing its growth parallel to the development of professional rodeo and the growth of the organizational structure that governs college rodeo. Mahoney draws on personal interviews as well as the archives of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and newspaper accounts from participating schools and their hometowns.

Mahoney chronicles the events, profiles winners, and analyzes the organizational efforts that have contributed to the colorful history of college rodeo. She traces the changing role of women, noting their victories that were ignored by much of the contemporary press in the early days of the sport. College Rodeo highlights outstanding individuals through extensive interviews, giving credit to the pioneers of college rodeo. This book includes rare photographs of rodeo teams, champions, and rodeo queens, blended with the true life details of sweat and tears that make intercollegiate rodeo such a popular sport.

SYLVIA GANN MAHONEY has written extensively on the topic of college rodeo since being associated with it as a college rodeo coach and as a founder of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Alumni.

What Readers Are Saying:

“I am honored to have the opportunity of endorsing my friend, Sylvia Mahoney’s book. Sylvia has provided a great service to the sport of rodeo as well as the world of rodeo through the book, College Rodeo: From Show to Sport. For this I say “Thank You.” She has included details about issues, events, places, dates and individuals that were instrumental in creating what is now the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Her knowledge of the subject, coupled with her actual involvement in college rodeo, provides this document with impeccable credibility. Once you start reading this book you will not want to put it down until you have finished.”--John J. Smith, National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Commissioner

“I am honored to have the opportunity of endorsing my friend, Sylvia Mahoney’s book. Sylvia has provided a great service to the sport of rodeo as well as the world of rodeo through the book, College Rodeo: From Show to Sport. For this I say “Thank You.” She has included details about issues, events, places, dates and individuals that were instrumental in creating what is now the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Her knowledge of the subject, coupled with her actual involvement in college rodeo, provides this document with impeccable credibility. Once you start reading this book you will not want to put it down until you have finished.” --John J. Smith, National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Commissioner

“. . .the first comprehensive treatment of the 80-year history of college rodeo . . . brings together information from a variety of heretofore untapped primary and secondary sources. The use of oral history in support of the text is especially impressive and provides published sources.” --B. Byron Price, Director Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of th

“All those who appreciate recorded history will give Sylvia Mahoney a large round of thanks for producing this all-encompassing 80-year look at college rodeo. Certainly, rodeo fans and contestants will relish the book, because it provides so much more than statistics. She has done the research—and been a part of the history herself—to provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and those individuals who played major roles in it.” --Randy Witte, publisher, Western Horseman Magazine

“Mahoney has written extensively on the subject of college rodeo and is recognized as an expert. The book is well written and should interest anyone who wants to know more about this exciting sport.” --Mexia Daily News

“In addition to a chronological history, illustrated by more than 60 photos, Mahoney includes extensive lists of team and individual college champions from 1949 to 2003.” --Abilene Reporter-News

“Sylvia Gann Mahoney successfully traces the sport’s growth as she chronicles the events, profiles winners, highlights outstanding individuals and analyzes the organizational efforts that have contributed to the colorful history of college rodeo.” --Texas Aggie

“. . . this well-researched study of a largely overlooked campus sport.” --Dallas Morning News

“For those who know nothing about this sport, Sylvia Gann Mahoney’s book will be a revelation. For those of us already familiar with the excitement and accomplishment, the book is a joy: College Rodeo: From Show to Sport welcomes neophytes and old pros alike into an endearing world.” --Southwestern American Literature

“College Rodeo forces the reader to respect the sport, not because you may be a cowperson who relates to the anecdotes, but because Mahoney stresses rodeo’s values of camaraderie and education.” --Montana The Magazine of Western History

“Mahoney masterfully accomplished this feat without creating a spectacle like that of the 1973 Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs ‘Battle of the Sexes’ tennis match.” --Montana The Magazine of Western History

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