SENATOBIA – The East Mississippi Community College men's rodeo team capped the 2017-18 Ozark Region regular-season slate with a spring-best, third-place finish this past weekend at the annual Ranger Rodeo, presented by Sycamore Bank and the Northcentral Electric Power Association. The three-day event concluded Saturday night at the Northwest Mississippi Community College Multipurpose Arena.
With 405 team points, the EMCC men finished 40 points behind runner-up Tennessee-Martin. Missouri Valley College earned the men's title with 720 total points. In the women's competition, Southern Arkansas edged Arkansas-Monticello, 350-325, for the team title. The EMCC women placed sixth with 65 points.
For head coach Morgan Goodrich's Lions, Tristan Martin led the way by claiming his third steer wrestling event of the region season with a winning short-go run of 4.0 seconds to earn 125 total points for his 9.5 average score. Along with his previous back-to-back steer wrestling wins at Pearl River CC and Missouri Valley to begin the season, the former McNeese State University transfer from Sulphur, Louisiana captured this year's Ozark Region steer wrestling championship and will represent EMCC for the second straight year at the College National Finals Rodeo, June 10-16, in Casper, Wyoming.
In the regular-season finale, East Mississippi also collected 190 total points in the team roping competition. Reigning CNFR participants Ethan Wheeler (Pisgah, Ala.) and Jace Harris (Vilonia, Ark.) paired with UT Martin's Ross Mitchell and Logan Graham of Southern Arkansas, respectively, to generate team points for the Lions. Wheeler and Mitchell, the reigning team roping CNFR reserve champions, posted a winning second-round run of 6.1 seconds to win the average (17.3) and tie for second overall with 120 points. The Harris-Graham tandem won the opening round with a 6.0-second effort that held on for a fourth-place finish (70 points).
EMCC's Zack Varner (Greenville, Ala.) contributed 90 team points with his fourth-place showing in the tie down roping event after clocking a winning short-go time of 9.2 seconds. In addition, bull rider Dalton Thames (Robertsdale, Ala.) collected 50 individual points with a second-round score of 77.
For East Mississippi's women this past weekend, Jadi Gibbs (Morton) earned 50 points with her sixth-place finish in barrel racing, while Taylor Vollin (Salinas, Calif.) added 15 points in breakaway roping.