From Show to Sport
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
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It’s about time someone put together a comprehensive account of the history of college rodeo, and with more than a quarter century of experience in the sport, Sylvia Mahoney is the perfect person to do it. A former rodeo coach and the wife of my college rodeo coach, John Mahoney, Sylvia knows this sport top to bottom, from every angle. This book is the first of its kind and is long...
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Seldom does a college sport exist for more than eighty years without having a book written about it, but college rodeo has. The extent of available information for research consisted of brief references in college yearbooks, rodeo history books, and museums. The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s (NIRA) home page on the Internet had a limited amount of background...
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The history of the writing of this book is a trail of people who gave me their time, their expertise, their treasures, their college rodeo knowledge, their history, and their friendship...
Chapter 1. College Rodeo Produces a New Breed of Cowboy
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“Look at that cowboy. He’s wearing a college ring!” said a city visitor at abranding on the McElroy Ranch near Crane, Texas, in the 1930s.1 Some seventy years later, many cowboys and cowgirls wore college rings and trophybuckles. A new breed of rodeo cowboy and cowgirl developed on collegecampuses and intertwined with the development of professional rodeo...
Chapter 2. NIRA Creates a New Vision and a National Finals
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In the late 1940s the number of annual invitational intercollegiate rodeos grew as did the desire to establish a national organization to determine national champions. This organization could also standardize rules and set eligibility, contestants’ conduct, prizes, and lead to recognition as a college sport. The ideahad been bantered around at many college rodeos...
Chapter 3 1950s—Rodeo Tested on College Campuses
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The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association moved rodeo onto college campuses promoting it as a sport, but without institutional funding. During the 1950s the NIRA student oﬃcers struggled with financial instability and rapid change in leadership caused by graduation. The loss of the older, experiencedwar veterans, the constant change in leadership, and the lack of...
Chapter 4 1960s—NIRA Tested and Nomadic Finals
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The 1960s began with two college rodeo associations instead of one. In 1959 a group of disgruntled cowboys and faculty sponsors had split from the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) and formed the American College Rodeo Association (ACRA). Compromise resolved the issues thatseparated the two organizations, resulting in one organization, a stronger,...
Chapter 5 1970s—Powerhouse Universities, Champions, and Change
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The new rodeo training ground, college rodeo, produced subtle but positive changes in the 1970s in its own organization, which also aﬀected professional rodeo. College administrators mellowed toward college rodeo programs as scholarships advanced them. Strong personalities along with a nationally known celebrity spread the well-kept secret of college rodeo; however, without a...
Chapter 6 1980s—Sponsors and Superstars
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The strong economy, the increasing number of rodeo programs at community colleges, and the quality of competition expanded the national organization during the 1980s. Contestants started driving better rigs and practicing to push the competitive advantage. Instead of one shared horse, most hauled a horse for each event they entered. With scholarships provided by sponsors and...
Chapter 7 1990 to 1996—Independence and Photo-Finish Finals
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As the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) approached the final decade before its golden anniversary, it continued a stable growth pattern. However, change brought by deaths and retirements took its toll on the organization...
Chapter 8 1997 to 2003—A College Sport and Big Business
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The twentieth century ended with college rodeo contestants pushing the competitive edge and the NIRA becoming a big business. The accomplishments continued in spite of the earlier contestants’ records that seemed unbeatable.The NIRA was knowledgeable, experienced, and independent, although not independently wealthy. It was branching into areas of service to its members,...
Appendix A First Intercollegiate Rodeo, 1939
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Appendix B First Meetings to Organize NIRA, 1948-49
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Appendix C Miss College Rodeo
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Appendix D Charter Board of Directors of NIRA Alumni
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Appendix E First NIRA National Champions and Contestants
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Appendix F College and University NIRA National Champions
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Appendix G NIRA Team Championship Records, 1949-2003
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Appendix H NIRA National Champions, 1949-2003
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Page Count: 378
Illustrations: 60 b&w photos.
Publication Year: 2004