UVU Rodeo Saddles Up for the Future


With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, collegiate athletic events have been cancelled nationwide. UVU’s rodeo team had their season cut nearly in half, and were only able to compete in six of their 10 scheduled rodeos. With their competitions ended, they are preparing for both the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) and their next season.

Five women and one man from the UVU rodeo team have qualified for the CNFR in June. As long as the athletic ban is raised before then, they will travel to Casper, Wyoming, to compete against the top collegiate athletes in the nation. The following students are representing UVU at the finals:

  • Emmalee Dubois: Goat Tying (Regional Champion)
  • Jaicee Bastian: Goat Tying
  • Maddie Roche: Goat Tying
  • Amanda Butler- Barrel Racing
  • Kaycie Ahlstrom: Team Roping
  • Wyatt Ahlstrom: Team Roping

With the combination of the season ending early and UVU classes being switched to an online format, many of the rodeo athletes have returned to their homes.

“To follow the university’s health instructions, all of our team practices have been cancelled,” said Shane Draper, head coach of the rodeo team. “Our team members are practicing on their own. They all have the facilities and cattle to practice at their homes on a more flexible schedule.”

While many sports teams have been left in limbo due to COVID-19 preventative restrictions, the UVU rodeo team sees this lull in busy schedules as an opportunity to prepare for their next rodeo season.

“Funds that would have been used to cover travel expenses for the rest of this school year are now being used to buy more stalls for our Vineyard practice arena,” said Draper. “With high school rodeos also being cancelled or postponed, we’re already recruiting for next year’s rodeo team.”

Draper has actively been watching high school rodeo teams throughout the year, which helped prepare him to act quickly once rodeo seasons were cut short. He’s signed five freshmen and one transfer student (as listed below) and is having ongoing discussions with two additional freshmen.

  • Kai Rockhill (Cochise College): Saddle Bronc Rider
  • Jace Hanks (Spanish Fork High School): Team Roping and Tie-Down Roping
  • Rhett Nebeker (Union High School): Team Roping and Tie-Down Roping
  • Jocelynn Cornwall (Enterprise High School): Barrel Racing, Goat Tying, Breakaway Roping, and Team Roping
  • Jade Rindlisbacher (Spanish Fork High School)- Barrel Racing, Breakaway Roping, Team Roping
  • Wyatt Davis (Spanish Fork High School)- Team Roping and Tie-Down Roping

“We had a really good team this year, and with these new athletes we’re adding we should be really tough next year,” said Draper. “We’re always wanting to look forward to how we can better our program and, in turn, better the university. That’s our goal.”

UVU Rodeo

Kai Rockhill

UVU Rodeo

Jocelynn Cornwall

UVU Rodeo

Rhett Nebeker