EMCC Rodeo teams earn runner-up finishes in Tenn.
MARTIN, Tenn. — The nationally ranked East Mississippi Community College rodeo teams both earned runner-up finishes during the 53rd Annual UT Martin Spring College Rodeo held this past weekend on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Martin. The three-day event concluded with Saturday night’s championship round held at the Ned Ray McWherter Agricultural Pavilion and N.W. “Doc” Robinson Arena.
Entering the UT Martin rodeo ranked 11th among the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s men’s and women’s team standings, EMCC totaled 540 points in the men’s competition and 245 points in women’s action to collect respective team runner-up honors this past weekend. The EMCC men finished second behind nationally top-ranked Missouri Valley College (860 points), while the women trailed only host UT Martin (365 points).
On the men’s side, EMCC’s West Smith (Emmet, AR) claimed top honors in tie-down roping by earning 170 points with times of 8.7 and 9.2 seconds.
Also for the Lions, former national champion all-around cowboy Marcus Theriot (Poplarville) collected 200 total points for EMCC’s second-place team effort by finishing third with teammate Cole Curry (Liberty) in team roping along with placing fifth in tie-down roping and sixth in steer wrestling. Theriot, this year’s CINCH Timed Event Champion, earned first-round top honors in tie-down roping with a 7.9-second effort at UT Martin while grabbing second-place points in steer wrestling with a 5.1-second showing.
EMCC’s other 90 points in the team competition this past weekend were secured by Myles Neighbors (Benton, AR) with his fourth-place finish in the steer wrestling event.
In women’s competition, EMCC freshman barrel racer Taycie Matthews (Wynne, AR) notched her fifth NIRA Ozark Region win of the 2020-21 season. Her 170 points at UT Martin came on a first-place effort of 13.24 seconds in the opening round followed by a second-place showing of 13.33 seconds in the short go.
Sophomore Blair Bryant (Hatchechubbee, AL) garnered EMCC’s other 75 team points with a fifth-place finish (55 points) in breakaway roping as well as scoring 20 points in the team roping event with Kody Boatright of Arkansas-Monticello.
Also for the EMCC women, Ryan Johnson (Indian Springs Village, AL) tallied 40 individual points in barrel racing, while Mikayla Joh Almond (Olin, NC) advanced to the championship round of the breakaway roping competition but did not score.
Coach Morgan Goodrich’s East Mississippi rodeo teams are scheduled to conclude their 2020-21 NIRA Ozark Region regular-season slate this week, April 22-24, at Northwest Mississippi Community College. The three-day Ranger Rodeo will begin Thursday and continue through Saturday at the Northwest Multipurpose Arena in Senatobia.
Currently owners of a 425-point lead over Missouri Valley (2,370-1,945) atop the NIRA Ozark Region women’s team standings and 20 points ahead of third-place UT Martin (3,860-3,840) behind nationally top-ranked Missouri Valley in the men’s regional team standings, EMCC is attempting to qualify both teams for this summer’s College National Finals Rodeo during the same year for the first time in school history. Scheduled for June 13-19 in Casper, Wyoming, this year’s CNFR will consist of the top two men’s and women’s teams from each of the NIRA’s 11 regions. In addition, the top three student-athletes in the nine different competitive events from each region will also qualify individually for the CNFR.