Biology Major Made BVU History in Rodeo

Micah Barnes had started the Buena Vista University rodeo team as a junior. With the spring season of her senior year cancelled, she may use her final year of rodeo eligibility during graduate school next year.

Micah Barnes made history at Buena Vista University when she participated in collegiate rodeo as a junior, believed to be the first BVU student-athlete to compete in the sport under the auspices of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.

“History?” Barnes asks, “I don’t know about that.”

Barnes humbly accepts the premise she may well have been the first to don BVU’s official rodeo gear while excelling in her specialties of goat-tying and breakaway roping. Younger sister, Mary Barnes, joined the team in its second year of club competition, Micah’s senior year. Their father, Marty Barnes, of Barnes PRCA Rodeo coached the team.

“I chose BVU because of its strong School of Science and the fact I’d be able to play basketball.”

Micah Barnes

“I was really proud to have the BVU imprint on my rodeo vest,” says Micah, a biology major who came to BVU after playing four sports as a prep at Alta-Aurelia High School.

“I chose BVU because of its strong School of Science and the fact I’d be able to play basketball,” she says.

The development of rodeo was an added bonus for Barnes, as was the formation of BVU’s Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource Management. A growing focus on ag instruction at BVU appealed to Barnes, who plans to study animal science while earning her master’s at either California Polytechnic State University or West Texas A&M University. If things fall in place, she’ll be able to use her fourth year of rodeo eligibility for one of those institutions.

“Our season this spring got cancelled, which was disappointing,” she says, citing another outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic. “But, we were also given an extra year of eligibility.”

Barnes says she’s gratified BVU has proceeded with plans for a Commencement celebration on the weekend of Homecoming. Having a ceremony will allow so many seniors the chance to tell their professors how much they meant to them; for Micah, it would be encouragers such as Dr. Ben Maas, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Geology; and Landon Sullivan, Instructor of Animal Science, both ardent supporters of the rodeo club.

“It would also give us seniors a chance to say ‘Goodbye’ to our friends and our classmates in person,” Barnes says. “We didn’t really get the chance to close the book.”

And while the October date appears promising, there is one conflict that may keep Barnes away. She’s got one eye firmly on the calendar to see what transpires.

“Rodeo competition would be the one thing that may get in the way,” she says.