Contact: AnnMarie Cornejo
2017 Poly Royal Rodeo Moves to the Alex G. Spanos Stadium
SAN LUIS OBISPO — The 77th annual Poly Royal Rodeo will offer a whole new spectator experience as it moves to a premiere arena — Cal Poly’s Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
The rodeo will be held April 7-8, 2017, at the Spanos Stadium. The new venue will nearly double the capacity for spectators.
“The Poly Royal Rodeo has been held at the Cal Poly rodeo grounds for more than 70 years,” Coach Ben Londo said. “Relocating the rodeo is monumental. This will not only improve the spectator experience but allow the Cal Poly Rodeo program to make history by potentially becoming the largest college rodeo in the country.”
The Poly Royal Rodeo, held during Cal Poly’s annual Open House weekend, is deeply rooted in the university’s history and remains one of Cal Poly’s most revered events.
College rodeo athletes from all over the West Coast will compete for a championship title in events such as barrel racing, team roping, breakaway roping, tie down roping, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding and steer wrestling. The rodeo will also include stunts, clown acts, calf dressing and more.
The cost of hosting the rodeo at the stadium will be paid for by sponsorships, donors and ticket sales.
Last year nearly 6,000 people attended the standing room only rodeo. Spanos Stadium can accommodate more than 11,000 guests.
“In the past our facility held up to 2,500 people for a performance,” said Londo. “That left as many as 3,500 people standing. The stadium offers ample seating, in-place logistics to handle large crowds, and a new and exciting spectator experience to our rodeo.”
The program’s new venue aligns with the momentum the program has seen in recent years under Londo’s leadership. In May 2015 Mark and Jessie Milano announced their plans to establish a $1 million endowment to benefit the Cal Poly Rodeo team in perpetuity. The gift increased the program’s scholarship offerings to more than $80,000 in 2016-17, up from $16,000 awarded in 2015-16.
The 2017 rodeo will feature two back-to back evening performances followed by a headline concert Saturday night, with the act to be announced at a later date.
Tickets will go on sale in February at www.tickets.calpoly.edu. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Cal Poly Rodeo Program.
“The Cal Poly Rodeo program is held in high esteem nationwide,” said Andrew Thulin, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “These incredible athletes emulate teamwork, responsibility and stewardship of the Western way of life. This is a well-deserved opportunity to showcase their hard work on a larger stage.”
About Cal Poly Rodeo
Cal Poly Rodeo, coached by Ben Londo, is one of the most successful programs in the history of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA). Cal Poly sent six men to the inaugural College National Finals Rodeo in 1949. Since then, Cal Poly Rodeo’s student-athletes have gone on to win six national championships — more than any other school in the NIRA competition — and 44 national titles. The program is open to all Cal Poly students.
A Cal Poly alumnus, Londo returned to Cal Poly to head the program three years ago. As a member of Cal Poly’s Rodeo Team while still a student, he earned bareback riding and all-around champion titles for two years running at the College National Finals Rodeo. A professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rider since 2003, Londo has amassed an admirable list of achievements, including being named a saddle bronc champion four times for the Columbia River circuit. He was also named Coach of the Year for the West Coast Region in 2015.
About Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, comprehensive polytechnic university. The university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is comprised of expert faculty members who take pride in their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative professionals ready to solve the complex challenges associated with feeding the world in sustainable ways. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, including ranch land, orchards, vineyards and forests, all of which provide the basis for Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology. It is the fifth-largest college of agriculture in the country, with 4,000 undergraduate students.
Photo information: (Top photo) Wade Brown in the bareback in the Friday performance during the 2016 Poly Royal Rodeo; (bottom) Brooke Niederhauser in the barrel racing in the Saturday slack during the 2016 Poly Royal Rodeo. Photo credit: Holly Ann Wilson
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