Six Butte College Independent Rodeo athletes learn teamwork, responsibility and discipline while financing their education. Known as the Western Heritage & Agriculture Association, the club focuses on fostering and developing the sport of rodeo at the college level to provide educational and competitive opportunities for the students.

For those who have never heard of the Western Heritage & Agriculture Association, you will have the opportunity to see what they are all about up front and center when they bring the Calcutta Rodeo to the Butte County Fairgrounds as part of the June 1-3 North State Kiwi Fest.

The rodeo will be held Saturday, June 2 with the Calcutta Dinner beginning at 5 p.m., the rodeo at 7 p.m. The Calcutta Dinner includes bidding on a contestant or a team with a stake in the competition to create an even better experience for those attending.

Of course it takes sponsors to put on an event of this magnitude and those opportunities are in the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum categories. The sponsorships start out with the Bronze at $500 which includes not only social media recognition but it also means box seats for up to six people, six VIP tickets for the Calcutta Dinner and announcement of your company throughout the performance and hosted events.

Silver, at $1,500 means the addition of name on all media promotions, a 4'x6' banner in the arena, and a Butte Rodeo Hat . Gold sponsors at $2,500 will receive all of the above plus a chute gate promotion presenting name on all media promotions and present awards.

Platinum sponsors will receive 12 VIP seats in the box seating, marquee rodeo sponsor name and the above mentioned items available through the Silver and bronze.

These exciting performances with quality entertainment are sure to give the spectators much to cheer about and talk about for days to follow.

Invitations have gone out to the riders and for those who wish to attend and witness the entertainment it is not necessary to attend the dinner beforehand.

As the rodeo team has progressed, they have developed a relationship with the Butte County Fair Board and fairgrounds making this event a natural, their first of this magnitude in the arena they have helped to improve once a month over time. They have brought welders in to work on the back pens and still have plenty to do.

Tickets to attend the rodeo are $5 in advance and $10 the day of the event.

The Butte College independent team of riders has also done work at the Butte College arena that had been basically abandoned since the 1990's. They took this area on as a project and worked the past year-and-a-half grading and making the arena very nice for their use.

The goal is to be a beneficial program not only for Butte College but also the Butte County Fairgrounds.

An important component of this team and program is Tyson Heusser of Gridley who would like to see Butte College benefit a significant income that could come from the FTE credits associated with more full time students attending Butte taking what they love, their horses and competition to schools where it is offered.

"They just love their horses and competing," Heusser stated.

In order to be part of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association the students must carry 12 full time units.

Western Heritage & Ag Association is part of the NIRA, as a group of independents competing with schools that are members such as Cal Poly, Questa College, Feather River, Fresno State, Lassen, West Hills in Coalinga and UNLV.

The ultimate goal for the program is to have Butte College become a member school of the NIRA so that they can be capable of hosting a college rodeo which would bring 300 plus rodeo athletes along with friends and family to the Butte County Fairgrounds and our community of Gridley.

The Butte College six member team competes against the schools that are members of NIRA. Independent athletes can apply to be independent members of the NIRA, have their own insurance and the school signs off for them to compete.

Those interested in sponsoring this fantastic event to be held in Gridley June 2 should call Heusser by April 17 at 530-379-8369.