Buc Day Ideas Challenge Showcases Innovative Ideas at the Island University


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The College of Business at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the Buccaneer Commission hosted its 7th annual Buc Days Ideas Challenge on April 20. The business concept competition allows TAMU-CC students from all disciplines to put their innovative business and technology ideas to the test.

Jordyn Barker ’22 and Caleb Thomas ’22, both marketing majors, walked away with this year’s grand prize, earning them $2,500 and free Whataburger for a year. Their idea, the MiProRodeo, is an app that acts as a one-stop shop for all things related to professional rodeo, designed with athletes, judges, and fans in mind. The idea for the app developed as a result of Thomas’ eight years working as an executive with the Mesquite Championship Rodeo in Dallas and their parent organization, Smith Pro Rodeo.

“During my time working for the rodeo, I realized there was less need for paper, pencils, and stopwatches, and more of a need for adaptive technology for the younger and more tech-savvy demographic that is coming in,” Thomas said. “From this need for updated technology MiProRodeo was born.”

Thomas and Barker say that the app will allow fans to live stream rodeos, as well as unlock VIP experiences and incentives through mobile ticket purchases. Rodeo athletes would be able to find rodeos near them, enter, and receive payouts, and judges would have the capability to score rides and update leaderboards directly from the arena floor. Their well-thought-out model impressed the judges and led to their project being chosen to advance to the Raymond Ideas Challenge at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

“We never thought in a million years that we’d be where we are today,” Barker said. “I think it’s important for students like us to remember to not doubt yourself and don’t be afraid to take leaps towards your goals.”

The competition process challenges applicants to use their creativity and business knowledge to develop a product. Out of 58 applicants who submitted their online applications, only three teams were selected as finalists who would pitch their ideas live to the audience and a panel of judges. This year’s event judges were all TAMU-CC College of Business faculty: Dr. Jack Clampit, Associate Professor of Management; Dr. Don Deis, Endowed Chair of Accounting and Regents Professor; and Dr. Jennifer Taylor, Assistant Professor of Marketing.

The competition was emceed by Dr. Kent Byus, TAMU-CC Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, who says he was impressed by the drive and passion of this year’s competitors.

“This year’s finalists were diverse in almost every sense of the term. Their ideas represented a range of possibilities that they were genuinely passionate about,” Byus said. “The detail that each finalist provided illustrated their skill in identifying problems that exist in the marketplace, and to creatively formulate solutions, both of which are necessary skills for tomorrow’s leaders.”

Additional finalists included Dawson Pietsch ’22 and Michael Benton ‘22, with Solva Skincare. Pietsch and Benton, both marketing majors, won the $1,500 second prize for their product, a dry tablet that activates with water to create a body wash for people who work in remote locations like military personnel. Genevieve Ridgway ’23, also a marketing major, took home the $1,000 third prize for her My Wine Compass which aims to make planning tours of wineries a more easy and customizable experience. All finalists were also awarded a one-year membership to the College of Business’ Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center.

Dr. Brian Tietje, Dean of the TAMU-CC College of Business, and Johnny Philipello, Buccaneer Commission President and CEO, were on hand to cheer on the student entrepreneurs.   

“This event is a valuable tool for our students and this event wouldn’t be possible without the support and generosity of the Buc Days Commission and community partners like Whataburger,” Tietje said. “There are so many great ideas that exist within the students at this university. I look forward to seeing the creative solutions that our Islanders develop for next year’s competition.”

For more information on the Buc Day Ideas Challenge, visit https://www.bucdaysideaschallenge.com/.