WT Rodeo Star Qualifies for National Finals

Chip Chandler Jun 04, 2024
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WT Rodeo Star Qualifies for National Finals

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — A West Texas A&M University cowboy will compete in June at the College National Finals Rodeo.

Kallen Johnson, an Amarillo native who graduated in May with a degree in agribusiness and economics, was named the Southwest Region tie-down roping champion at the Tarleton State University College Rodeo and will represent WT Rodeo at the nationals June 6 to 15 in Casper, Wyoming.

“This is my first year to qualify for the nationals,” Johnson said. “I’ve always been right there on the edge of it. Even this year, there were a bunch of guys who could catch me and bump me out, but I just kept my head down and it worked out.”

Johnson competed for four years with WT Rodeo, said Cody Bonds, who recently completed his first year as coach.

“Kallen has been very close to realizing this dream for four years,” Bonds said. “He finally saw it to fruition this year.”

Such competition appeals to Johnson.

“You’re not guaranteed to get paid or to win. You have to win it on your own,” Johnson said. “I love the rush, the adrenaline you get from calf roping. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in a hurry.”

He thanked previous coach Raymond Hollabaugh and Bonds for pushing him to succeed.

“Raymond helped me a bunch with my roping, and Cody helped push me to win, to get my mind right to get over the hump and succeed.”

The WT Rodeo team — which boasts 32 members from around the country — has been a WT fixture for more than 25 years, with several regional champions and CNFR qualifiers in its history.

The team was spotlighted in “Around Texas with Chancellor John Sharp,” a TV show highlighting accomplishments across The Texas A&M University System:

WT’s rodeo team is an example of the University’s responsiveness to the Texas Panhandle, as outlined in the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised nearly $160 million.



About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.