The Mulerider Rodeo Team again earned success despite a challenging pandemic year, with three students qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo to be held this June in Casper, Wyoming. Strand Barricklow, Latham Dickson, and Harley Lynn will represent SAU in its 15th consecutive year of qualifying for the College National Finals. Coach Rusty Hayes thanked the University for its support of the team during a challenging year.
Barricklow is a graduate student from Lebanon, Indiana, and the 2020-2021 Ozark Reserve Champion Team roping header. This is his second finals qualification for the team. Dickson is a freshman Agricultural Business student from Stamps, Arkansas, and the 2020-2021 Ozark Region Reserve Champion Team Roping heeler. Lynn is a graduate student from Farmersville, Texas, and the 2020-2021 Ozark Region Reserve Champion Breakaway roper.
Lynn graduated from Bland High School in 2015 and chose to continue college rodeo at SAU after graduating from a junior college in Mount Pleasant, Texas, with an associate’s degree in 2017. “SAU has outstanding rodeo facilities,” she said, “and was only a few hours from my family home.”
After meeting with Hayes and touring the campus, Lynn decided to become a Mulerider. She graduated from SAU in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business.
Lynn started in rodeo showing Missouri Fox Trotter horses. Her early passion was showing horses and pigs in FFA. “When I turned 14, my dad bought me my first barrel horse, and I entered junior rodeos in barrel racing and goat tying,” she said. In high school, she got her first horse, Kat, “and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a breakaway roper.”
Her hard work has paid off. “I am blessed to have made it where I am today,” Lynn said. A series of personal setbacks prompted Lynn to take a new perspective on her life and rodeo. After success at her first college rodeo in Marshall, Missouri, she decided to “make the comeback stronger than the setback.”
“I’m excited about College National Finals,” she said. “I bought a horse named Easy about a year ago, and I’m excited to take him to Casper.”
Lynn hopes to continue a career in rodeo and roping. “There are so many opportunities out there for a girl to rope these days,” she said. Her career plans include working at Albemarle Corp. in Magnolia, where she has worked for the past year and recently earned a promotion.
“I agree 100 percent that SAU feels like home,” she said. “SAU has it all.” She praised the rodeo program. “You have all the practice cattle and tools to do it. If you want to win and improve, you have every opportunity here.”
She advises anyone in college rodeo to “never get too high on your victories or too low on your defeats.”
Hayes described Dickson as “one of those team members a coach enjoys having. He doesn’t just rope to be roping; he studies the art of roping, of rope handling, of horsemanship – all the attributes that will make him successful in this sport.”
He said that making the Finals his first year for Dickson should be a stepping stone for a memorable collegiate career.
Barricklow graduated from Lebanon High School in 2015 and chose SAU because of its excellent facilities. He received his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business and his master’s degree in Agriculture in May 2021.
“My parents used to rodeo,” he said. “My dad was a calf roper, and my mom ran barrels, so I wanted to get involved. It feels good to represent a great team.”
Mulerider Rodeo felt not only like a team to Barricklow but a family. “I will miss it greatly,” he said. “A highlight was winning the region in my junior year and graduating without debt.”
He works as an area sales manager for Green Crops Service and hopes to continue rodeo as much as possible. “I would not trade my experiences at SAU for anything,” he enthused.
Hayes said the team had much to overcome this year due to traveling difficulties caused by the pandemic. “We limited our team meetings, and most of our communication was done by group messaging,” he explained. “At all events, we had daily temperature checks and health screenings for all team members.”
However, the team’s diligence led to none of its members contracting COVID-19 at a collegiate rodeo during the September-April season.
Hayes said Barricklow will be making his second appearance at the College National Finals and has worked as the Rodeo Team Graduate Assistant for the past two years. “He has improved his skills and provides invaluable leadership to the rest of the team,” Hayes said. Lynn has also been consistent throughout the year with her breakaway roping.
“I expect our team to be highly competitive at College National Finals,” he said. “Their focus and experience have been a major benefit for us at events across the country.”