UTM Rodeo garners big attention yet again

UTM hosted its annual Spring Rodeo last weekend, April 6-8.

The UTM men’s team won first place for the second rodeo in a row, accumulating 750 points. The score was enough for the team to win by a margin of 115 points over the next closest competitor, Southern Arkansas.

In the women’s competition, UTM finished with 305 points for the second place position, only 40 points shy of Missouri Valley College.

In breakaway roping, Alexandria Hancock led by scoring the second best time in the opening round on Thursday night. Hancock would go on to have the best time in the short go of 2.5 and splitting first place in her average of 5.3. Nealey Dalton led the women in barrel racing, coming in first place in average time and the short go, and second place in the first round. Madison Crow, Megan Crow, and Kylie Brueggeman also had impressive outings in barrel racing. Madison Crow finishing fourth and Megan Crow finishing sixth in average time.

The event saved for last each night was bull riding, and when announcer Garrett Yerigan came over the speakers and announced that it was time for bull riding the crowd cheered with excitement. UTM fans had reason to be especially excited, as one of UTM’s bull riders, Ryan McDaniel, has been ranked 9th in the world in bull riding by the International Professional Rodeo Association. Over this past summer, McDaniel toured as a professional bull rider, visiting 20 different states and winning a prize at a large rodeo in Piggott, Arkansas. After a successful summer tour, which landed him as the number one pro-rookie in the world, McDaniel returned to UTM to continue riding bulls for college. The sophomore from Yuma, Tennessee, did not disappoint, either, leading all the bull riders over the weekend with 77 points and helping the men claim the number one spot overall.

Friday night began with a tribute to a fallen UTM cowboy Coy Lutz, who died from injuries sustained after being thrown from a bronco that then trampled over him last May at a rodeo in New Jersey. Lutz had just finished his freshman season at UTM and set career high scores in bareback riding at last year’s UTM Rodeo. UTM’s rodeo head coach John Luthi gave team jackets to Lutz’s family, which are normally only issued to people on the rodeo team, to let them and everyone else know that Coy would never be forgotten and that their family was always welcome at UTM.

The rodeo team will travel next to Northwest Mississippi Community College on April 20, and then again on April 27 to Cossatot Community College, where they hope to place for a chance to compete in the College National Finals Rodeo on June 9.

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