The UTM rodeo team will compete at its first rodeo of the spring semester Feb. 20-22 at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss.
Hopes are set high for a strong semester for both the men’s and the women’s teams. The fall semester was finished on a strong note and the team is gunning to keep that going.
The men’s team is currently in second place in the Ozark Region.
The final two rodeos of the fall semester enabled them to make a huge jump towards the lead. With 1,405 points they are only 245 points behind the University of West Alabama who sits in first place. The women’s team is currently in fifth place with 340 points.
In the men’s all-around Curtis Griffin is in the lead with 521 points. To be eligible for the all-around in the rodeo you must compete and earn points in two or more of the events. He is also winning the steer wrestling and the bull riding in the region.
Coach John Luthi says that there is a lot of talent on the team but everyone needs to step it up. With recent injuries and ineligibilities the team needs to pull together to start the semester out good.
Andy Carter and Josh Shackleford, bareback riders, are currently both out of competition because of injuries. Carter injured his knee this past November at the Murray, Ky., rodeo. Shackleford broke his leg while competing at the International Finals Rodeo in January. Josh is expected to return by March, while Andy plans to be ready for the home rodeo in April.
The newest addition to the men’s team is Jason Dement. He is from Jackson, Tenn. He will be competing in the calf roping, team roping, and steer wrestling.
With the season starting again, the entire rodeo team is striving toward not only the playoffs in Lawton, Okla. but also toward the College National Finals in Casper, Wyo.