RODEO TEAMS READY TO MAKE NOISE IN COLLEGE NATIONAL FINALS
June 3, 2013
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin rodeo program heads to Casper, Wyo. for the 65th annual College National Finals Rodeo, which will take place on Sunday, June 9 through Saturday, June 15 at the Casper Events Center.
Head coach John Luthi along with a dozen UT Martin cowboys and cowgirls will depart Martin on Thursday, June 6 to make the 1,300 mile drive. The UT Martin men’s team is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation (7,465 points) and is making their 40th straight appearance in the CNFR, considered the “Rose Bowl” of college rodeo.
“It’s a big deal but I still want our people to look at it as just another rodeo,” said UT Martin head coach John Luthi, who was named the 2013 Ozark Region Coach of the Year. “Our same performances we have delivered all year long will win out there too.”
The UT Martin men’s squad easily captured the Ozark Region title, posting 3,185 points more than the next-highest finisher. Representing UT Martin on the men’s side is Clark Adcock (team roping), Ben Walker (team roping, tiedown roping), Jordan Thrasher (tie down roping, steer wrestling), Ty Hughston (saddle bronc), Clay Mitchell (team roping), John Alley (team roping, steer wrestling), Tyler Waltz (bareback riding), Lane Mitchell (team roping), Robert Joyce (steer wrestling) and Will Lummus (steer wrestling).
Alley (header) and Adcock (heeler) rank as the nation’s top duo in team roping, while Waltz (seventh in bareback riding) and Alley (eighth in all-around cowboy) also rank amongst the nation’s top-10 in their respective events.
Competing for the UT Martin women’s team will be Natalie Fletcher (breakaway roping) and Mary Francis Gorsuch (barrel racing).
The CNFR is where the NIRA crowns individual event champions in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying. National team championships are also awarded to both men’s and women’s teams. Over 400 cowboys and cowgirls from over 100 universities and colleges compete in Casper each year. Contestants compete all year in one of the NIRA’s 11 regions for a chance to rope or ride at the CNFR.
The UT Martin men’s team has finished in the top-10 nationally three times since 2006, with the highest finish (third) coming in 2008.
“We just pray we draw good animals and just like anything else in life, we have to keep a good attitude,” Luthi said. “We realize our first objective is to do the best we can with the animal we draw. Good Lord willing, we will have the capabilities to win some. If we just focus on being the best we can, we will walk out of the arena a winner, no matter what the scores are.”
To view the official CNFR draws, click on the link above.