Graceland University Approves Rodeo Program to Begin Competing in 2020-21

Man in a cowboy hat with a horse

Lamoni, IA – Graceland University is excited to announce the approval of a competitive intercollegiate rodeo program. The university will begin an immediate search for a rodeo coach who will be charged with organizing the program, recruiting and networking . This co-curricular program is a part of Graceland’s strategic initiative to recruit more students from central Iowa and northern Missouri.

Graceland’s innovation committee conducted an extensive feasibility study for the rodeo program in part at the urging of the late Honorable Leonard Boswell, a former Iowa congressional representative and a Graceland alumnus, who was passionate about bringing rodeo to Graceland.

Graceland’s rodeo team will compete as a member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA), likely as a part of the Great Plains region. The NIRA is divided into 11 regions with over 135 colleges and universities with recognized rodeo organizations. Members of all genders compete in approximately 10 rodeos per year with the goal to earn a trip to the College National Finals Rodeo, held each June in Casper, Wyoming.

Graceland University’s Lamoni campus is uniquely located in the heart of cattle country in Iowa. Athletic Director Brady McKillip grew up around cattle and ranching, and he understands the sport of rodeo.

“We plan to hire a rodeo coach who will build a program that is positive toward gender equality, sets the example for appropriate treatment of animals, and recruits students who understand that academics are their first priority,” said McKillip. “We are excited to add this innovative and unique program to Graceland.”

Graceland University Vice President for Enrollment Management Scott Briell said, “I’m so thrilled about the launch of the rodeo program. Not only does it have the potential to grow the number of students on the Lamoni campus, but it also will help connect Graceland with surrounding communities and attract additional financial support for Graceland students.”

Graceland University’s rodeo program is scheduled to begin competition in the 2020-21 year.