MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin rodeo teams are headed to Casper, Wyo., for the 64th annual College National Finals Rodeo, the "Rose Bowl" of college rodeo. Action gets under way Sunday, June 10 and concludes with the championship short round on June 16.
The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) will crown individual event champions in saddle bronc riding, bare back 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. More than 400 cowboys and cowgirls from more than 100 universities and colleges compete in the CNFR.
UT Martin’s men and women’s teams advanced to this year’s CNFR by finishing second in the Ozark Region. Missouri Valley College won the Ozark Region on the men’s side, while Southern Arkansas won the women’s Ozark Region title. Contestants competed all year in one of the NIRA's 11 regions for a chance to rope or ride at the CNFR. In addition to the top two teams on the men’s and women’s side, the top three students in each event also qualify for the CNFR.
“We have a very good group of men and women going to the College Finals,” UT Martin head rodeo coach John Luthi said. “They are very talented and I expect them to do well.”
Seniors Chelsie McDade and Heather Moore, along with Katie Brown and Dacia Horne will represent the UT Martin women. McDade will vie for the goat tying championship while Moore, Brown, and Horne all work the barrel racing.
On the men’s side Clark Adcock will work the tie down roping and team roping. Ben Walker will also work the team roping. Jordan Thrasher also will compete for the tie down roping championship. Ty Hughston will work the saddle bronc competition, while Clay Mitchell and John Alley vie for the team roping buckles.
“Our game plan will be the same as always, to just strive to do the best we can with what we have and let the chips fall where they may,” Luthi said.
Who will represent UT Martin at the CNFR
Women’s Team Event
Chelsie McDade Goat Tying
Heather Moore Barrel Racing
Katie Brown Barrel Racing
Dacia Horne Barrel Racing
Men’s Team Event (s)
Clark Adcock Tie Down Roping and Team Roping
Ben Walker Team Roping
Jordan Thrasher Tie Down Roping
Ty Hughston Saddle Bronc
Clay Mitchell Team Roping
John Alley Team Roping