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Raring to Rodeo

May 29, 2024

Coach Jamie Slocum knows her ambitions are bold and hard work will be in store for her team — but it’s not her first rodeo.

As a student athlete in the spring of 2011, Slocum had a meager budget and encountered one barrier after another when she somehow pulled together the University of Idaho Rodeo Club’s first home competition in more than a decade.

Slocum now aims to grab the bull by the horns as the new coach of the club, housed within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and repeat history. Next fall — if all goes as planned — the club will again host U of I’s first home rodeo in more than a decade under her leadership. Pulling off a successful rodeo could also give a needed jolt to the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s entire Northwest Region, which includes mostly community colleges and has struggled with participation.

“Within our region we’re not able to recruit for rodeo because we’re not able to host rodeos,” Slocum said. “A lot of people don’t even know the rodeo club exists, and if they knew U of I had a rodeo team I think they would be likely to support it.”

Slocum, ’11, agriculture industry management and communications, works as a seed treatment agronomist with McGregor Co. In college, she competed in goat tying and barrel racing.

Slocum contacted the club’s student leaders last fall and offered up the 150- by 200-foot roping arena at her Palouse home for their occasional practices, along with the use of six steers and five calves.

The club jumped at the offer and also roped Slocum into sharing her expertise. She’s now coaching alongside Alan Chipman, who affiliated with the club seven years ago, along with his late wife, Tammy.

“I am thrilled to have Jamie Slocum come on because she knows so many contacts in the area that I am not aware of. That’s opened a whole bunch for us,” Chipman said. “She makes a great addition, and I don’t have to try to get steers and cows for practice at my place.”

Slocum plans to start bringing professional rodeo athletes to work with the team during future practices.

The club’s advisor is Stacey Doumit, senior instructor within the Department of Animal, Veterinary and Food Sciences.

“With Jamie as one of their coaches, they’ve got some good momentum going, and I’m super excited for them,” Doumit said.

As an athlete, Slocum joined the club in 2008, when she transferred to U of I from Spokane Community College. She was the club’s president during her senior year, in addition to participating in the Student Idaho Cattle Association. Her primary goal as president was to host a home-based rodeo — something that hadn’t happened in years that she believed would revitalize the program.

Through her involvement in the Palouse Empire Fair, Slocum received a discounted rate to use the arena at the rodeo grounds in nearby Colfax, Washington. The team also found donors to supply hay for horses and livestock, and they got a good deal on a livestock contractor through a club member.

The weather didn’t cooperate, however. Prior to the event, they pumped moisture from a soggy hay field designated as their parking area, but ultimately had to bring in tractors to pull out pickup trucks that got stuck in the muck. It was cold and snowy on the first day of the rodeo, and their crowd was small. Yet they met their goal of hosting a qualifying rodeo for nationals.

“The amount of work that went into it is why I think one hasn’t happened since then,” Slocum said.

The spring season has finished and the club is aiming to host a home rodeo at the Lewiston Roundup Grounds next fall. The students will be active in fundraising and approaching area businesses for sponsorships in the meantime. Slocum believes elevating the rodeo team’s profile would help attract students who are active in the sport to U of I.

About two decades ago, U of I hosted a successful regional rodeo in the Kibbie Dome. Eventually, Slocum would like to help restore a regional rodeo at the Kibbie Dome and make it the season’s first competition. The club has 13 members, nine of whom are enrolled in CALS. During the regional finals rodeo in Hermiston, Oregon, team members Katelyn Hurl and Lauryn Riney, both CALS students, qualified to compete in barrel racing at the College National Finals Rodeo, which will be hosted in Casper, Wyoming, in June.

“Now that I’ve got to watch them and coach them, they have a lot of potential,” Slocum said. “They are doing really well for the resources they have compared with the other schools that have practices every week.”

Published in Catching Up with CALS

New U of I Rodeo coach Jamie Slocum hopes to bring a regional rodeo back to Moscow.

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu.


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