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2002/06/12

Jones Named First Rodeo Coach At Troy State, Alabama Rick Jones, a 24-year veteran of national rodeo competition, has been named as Troy State's first rodeo coach. Jones, a native of Mineral Point, Wis., was introduced to a crowd of supporters on Friday at the Pike County Cattleman's Association facility, which will serve as the rodeo team's home venue. "We are excited about Rick Jones accepting our offer to become the first rodeo coach at Troy State," Athletics Director Johnny Williams said. "We had numerous candidates for the position, and Mr. Jones was the clear leader. His experience, both in competition and working with young people, will be extremely valuable as our program grows and establishes its roots in this sport." Jones, who is also nationally recognized as an authority in treating equine lameness and in corrective horseshoeing, will officially begin work on Aug. 1. He also has more than 10 years experience in managing equine breeding programs and breaking and training rope horses. He said the opportunity to help build a program was the greatest lure. "This is the perfect job," Jones said. "Having the opportunity to pioneer a program is exciting for me. There are a lot of exciting things happening in Troy right now, and I look forward to adding to that by bringing a championship team to Troy State as soon as possible." An experienced rodeo competitor, Jones has spent much of his career in active competition at the high school, college and professional levels. He captured the Wisconsin high school all-around individual title in 1981 and shared the title in 1982. As a competitor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Jones twice advanced to the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) national competition. He is still active professionally as well, winning the Wisconsin Rodeo Cowboys Association team roping championship in 2001. He is also a member of the United States Team Roping Association and the Iowa Ranch Horse Association, where he was the 2000 high-point winner. Jones, who competed from 1983-87 at Wisconsin-River Falls, said his first priority as head coach will be to meet the members of the team already on board, and then to recruit new talent in the months ahead. "I am excited about meeting everyone who has had a hand in getting the program up and running," Jones said. "My first priority will be to get to meet the students and see where they fit into our program so we can begin to build our family." The team, which was officially formed in March, already has more than 30 members and will host the program's inaugural home rodeo event in spring 2003. Jones and his wife, Suzanne, have two sons, Chase, 10, and Garrison, 8.

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