Cal Poly rodeo director named Coach of the Year

Ben Londo has led college rodeo program since 2013

Last summer, in his third season as the Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo rodeo coach, Ben Londo once again led his team to the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) held at the Casper Events Center from June 12 through June 18. 
Londo, 33, was named the 2016 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Coach of the Year, an award that is voted for by all rodeo coaches from the West Coast region. It was presented by Ric Griffith, rodeo coach of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Londo, who rodeoed competitively for Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo while earning his bachelor’s degree in construction management, started directing the rodeo program there in the fall of 2013 and has had student athletes qualify for the finals every year since.
Like most other college rodeo participants, Londo grew up around livestock. Originally from Milton Freewater, Ore., he began riding at age 10 on his parent’s cattle ranch. Londo, who won the all-around title at the 2005 and 2006 CNFR, spent his rodeo career following in a long line of family tradition. In fact, his father, Ned, rode in college and professionally, eventually even reaching the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“Rodeo’s been in my family for generations,” said Londo. “Growing up in the country, it’s so related to the work we do every day. It’s more than a sport, it’s a heritage.”
Londo has made several notable changes to the program. Along with help from students, alumni,

Londo, 33, was named the 2016 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Coach of the Year, an award that is voted for by all rodeo coaches from the West Coast region. It was presented by Ric Griffith, rodeo coach of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

boosters, the community and, of course, Cal Poly-SLO faculty, he has managed to almost completely renovate the entire rodeo grounds. Since starting, Londo has installed new stalls, replaced the bucking chutes and even re-paneled the entire arena.
His contributions extend far beyond aesthetics, though. Cal Poly offers a prestigious education system as well as a competitive rodeo program, and Londo has made it his mission to raise scholarship funds for potential students.
"Students aspire to come here for the historic rodeo program," he said. "The education is unmatched and the experience unbeatable. High school student athletes come here with 4.0-plus GPAs, incredible talent in the arena and full-ride scholarships to two or three other schools — and what we offer comparatively is peanuts. One of my personal goals is to bring this program to a level of being financially able to reward students that deserve to be here with a more adequate scholarship."
Giving something extra has always been a part of Londo’s makeup. A professional rodeo athlete, husband, father and mentor, Londo demonstrates on a daily basis what it means to be not only a fierce competitor, but a good man, too.
"Ben is energetic and enthusiastic," said fifth-year animal science student and rodeo athlete Tim Ditrich, adding that Londo's work ethic coupled with an earnest desire to help students succeed has already made a lasting impression. Negative is simply not a part of his vocabulary.