Spirit Week rodeo unites students

Another one bites the dust in the steer riding competition. Photo credit: Kela Munnerlyn

BYU-Idaho Spirit Week has been on hold for a couple of years due to COVID-19. This year it returned in full swing. Thursday focused on gratitude by highlighting a video by Elder Bednar that encouraged students to send notes of thanks to people who have impacted their lives. The night ended with a rodeo at the Madison County Fairgrounds.

The rodeo events this year included steer riding, mutton busting, a cash cow, team roping, a hog call competition and tug of war. To kick off the night, former America’s Got Talent contestant Evie Clair sang the national anthem before a prayer. Clair is a freshman studying computer science.

“It’s been fun being involved with my school,” Clair said. “When they called and asked me to sing, I was excited. The national anthem is one of my favorites.”

Team ropers ride through the arena.
Cattle ropers ride through the arena. Photo credit: Kela Munnerlyn

There were over 50 steer riders from states including California, Idaho, Utah and more. They all attempted to win the prize money promised to anyone who could last 8 seconds on his or her steer. No one won the money this year, so it will be added to next year’s prize.

Children rode sheep through the arena as long as they could to compete for the longest time in the mutton busting competition.

A group of several people were selected to chase this year’s “cash cow” which had coupons for food and merchandise attached to its back. The group chased the cow, dove in the dirt and kept going until every coupon was claimed. Elise Eichmann is the wife of one first-time coupon chaser.

“We’ve been coming to this rodeo for years,” Eichmann said. “We love it. My husband loves it. This is the first year we’ve gotten to bring our daughter.”

A steer rider struggles to hold on.
A steer rider struggles to hold on. Photo credit: Kela Munnerlyn

Aaron Smith, a junior studying accounting, is one of the partners over Spirit Week this year, and he appreciates all the hard work it takes to make events like these happen.

“It’s not an easy task,” Smith said, “Sometimes I look at our coworkers, the ones that do Campus Life, that does all the other weekly activities, and I marvel at how they do it so easily. I feel like they do it easily, but to be honest, it’s a lot of planning and logistics and getting things approved to see at Spirit Week.”

More information on Spirit Week can be found on the BYU-Idaho Spirit Week Instagram page.