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UT Martin Rodeo Team Wins Prestigious Rawhide Scholarship The University of Tennessee at Martin rodeo team has won its second National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Rawhide Scholarship Award in the past four years under the direction of head coach John Luthi. The Rawhide Scholarship Award, is presented to the team which shows dedication to encouraging fitness, goal setting, education and positive choices regarding the use of alcohol and drugs. "I am thankful our team has been recognized for this outstanding award again," Luthi said. "We don't have team meetings and goal-setting meetings to win this award. We participate in Rawhide activities to help our students make the right decisions in school and out of school. We want our students to realize life's choices not its chances." Luthi said the team meetings, the goal setting and all the other activities are a necessity for college students and rodeo team members. "It also helps me keep focused and headed in the right direction." UT Martin won its first Rawhide Scholarship Award in 1998, Luthi's first year as head coach. UT Martin's Shelia Sammons, of Collierville, won one-of -two individual Rawhide Scholarship Awards in 1999. "The Rawhide Award recognizes the characteristics that we stress to all of our student athletes," said UT Martin athletics director Phi Dane. "I am proud that the rodeo team has received this award again. I hope other teams at UT Martin will use this as a goal to make similar wise choices during their time here as athletes." Luthi's 1996 Fort Scott Community College rodeo team also won the Rawhide Scholarship Award. More than 135 colleges compete for this annual award which was created in 1994. "It is truly an honor to award the 2001 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Foundation's Team Rawhide Award to the University of Tennessee at Martin," said NIRA commissioner Tim Corfield. "The example set by this program should serve as a template for other programs to follow."
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