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NIRAA Reunion, June 14-15, Casper, WY
- story by Merrill Ellis
For eight days, the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) will showcase the top National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) athletes competing in nine rodeo events ranging from bull riding to barrel racing in Casper, Wyoming June 9-15.
Since 1949, this rodeo finals has taken place in different cities throughout the U.S. The decades of competition will be celebrated at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center during the 28th Annual NIRA Alumni, Inc. Reunion June 14 and 15. Some of the finest collegiate competition stories will be shared during the two day event.
“This is a time when former college cowboys and cowgirls meet up to reconnect and talk about their college rodeo days,” stated Butch Bratsky, NIRA Alumni, Inc. President. “The NIRA Alumni will be awarding $30,000 in scholarships after the final performance of the CNFR June 15. This is largest amount to date that we have contributed.”
If you were a NIRA champion, qualifier, rodeo coach, faculty director, and/or student director in 1949, 1959, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, or 2019 then you need to make plans to attend the 28th annual NIRA Alumni, Inc. Reunion June 14 and 15.
The reunion is held in conjunction with the final two performances of the College National Finals Rodeo which takes places in the Casper Events Center. For a complete list of champions, go to http://www.collegerodeo.com/downloads/ and scroll down to the bottom of the page stating Previous National Champions.
You still have plenty of time to start finding those NIRA championship photos, memorabilia and of course recreating those popular re-ride stories. The NIRA Alumni, Inc. Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/niraainfo/ features champions from the years ending in a nine weekly.
Friday, June 14 NIRA Alumni, Inc. reunion schedule will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. A reception for all alumni will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. All alumni honorees will be recognized in the arena at the Friday night performance of the CNFR.
On Saturday, June 15 NIRA Alumni are invited to attend the NIRA Foundation Luncheon and Auction at 11:30 a.m. At 7 p.m, the top collegiate cowboys and cowgirls will compete in the final performance of the CNFR at the Casper Events Center.
To make hotel reservations, please call the Ramkota 1-844-224-1315 or 1-307-266-6000 and indicate that you are with the NIRA Alumni for a special room rate. For CNFR Rodeo Tickets, call 1-800-442-2256 after April 5, 2019 and ask for the NIRA Alumni Section. (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST)
For additional NIRA Alumni, Inc. Reunion Information and to let us know you are attending- please visit our Facebook Page or website http://www.collegerodeo.com/resources/alumni/, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 210-415-9091.
1949 – Cow Palace, San Francisco, California (There were no women’s events) Champion Rodeo Team-Sul Ross State College and All Around Cowboy-Harley May, Sul Ross State College
1959 – Klamath, Oregon (There are no champion teams listed) All Around Cowboy-Jack Roddy, Cal Poly and All Around Cowgirl-Pat Dunigan New Mexico University
1969 Deadwood, South Dakota Champion Men’s Team-Eastern News Mexico University, Champion Women’s Team-Tarleton State University, All Around Cowboy-Phil Lyne, Sam Houston State University and All Around Cowgirl-Nancy Peterson, Cal Poly.
1979-Lake Charles, Louisiana Champion Men’s Team-Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Champion Women’s Team-Central Arizona College, All Around Cowboy-Joe Peabody SFCCS and All Around Cowgirl-Barrie Beach, Central Arizona College.
1989- Bozeman, Montana Champion Men’s Team-Odessa College, Champion Women’s Team, Cal Poly, All Around Cowboy-Ty Murray, and All Around Cowgirl, Shannon Lord, Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
1999 Casper, Wyoming Champion Men’s Team- Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Champion Women’s Team-University of Nevada, Men’s All Around-Bryant Mikkelson, University of Montana, and All Around Cowgirl- Jennifer Smith, Tarleton State University.
2009 Casper, Wyoming Champion Men’s Team-Western Texas College, Champion Women’s Team-University of Wyoming, All Around Cowboy-Jake Wright, Western Texas College and All Around Cowgirl-Nikki Steffes, University of Wyoming.
For a complete list of all events and winners, please go to: http://www.collegerodeo.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/National-Champions-1949-19791.pdf