SCOOBA – Exciting collegiate rodeo action returns to Meridian this week when East Mississippi Community College hosts its Seventh Annual Intercollegiate Rodeo. The three-day event begins Thursday and runs through Saturday night's finals at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center.
This week's rodeo is sanctioned by the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) and presented by HMR Veterans Services, Inc. This will mark the third year that East Mississippi has hosted a collegiate rodeo in Meridian after previously hosting the annual event in West Point.
Gates will open at 7 p.m. nightly during this week's EMCC-hosted rodeo. Tickets are $10 at the door for adults and $5 for students, while admission is free for children age 5 and younger. The rodeo will also feature a calf scramble for children ages 6-10 and a pig scramble for children age 5 and younger.
"We have had really good turnouts the last two years, and we encourage everyone to come out again this year to support our student-athletes and enjoy a night of good family fun," EMCC head rodeo coach Morgan Goodrich said.
Marking the spring season opener for the NIRA's Ozark Region, this week's rodeo in Meridian will feature about 250 cowboys and cowgirls representing teams from 10 colleges and universities located in the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri. Participants are scheduled to compete in bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping, breakaway roping, barrel racing and goat tying.
Heading into this week's spring opener following the six-event fall rodeo slate, the EMCC men's team currently ranks fifth in the regional standings and the EMCC women stand seventh as a team.
Individually for Coach Morgan Goodrich's EMCC women's team, sophomore Jadi Gibbs, out of East Rankin Academy, is presently ranked second regionally in breakaway roping with 305 points. Fellow sophomore Carli Hodges, a product of Foley (Ala.) High School, is tied for first regionally with 545 points in barrel racing. For the EMCC men, Louisiana native Clay Green rates as the region's No. 3 team roping heeler with 345 points.
Overall within the NIRA's Ozark Region entering the spring portion of the 2018-19 collegiate rodeo season, Missouri Valley College is currently atop both the men's and women's team standings while ranking second and seventh, respectively, among the national leaders. On the men's side, UT Martin and West Alabama are ranked second and third within the region, while Southern Arkansas and UT Martin occupy the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the women's regional standings.
The remainder of the Ozark Region's spring rodeo schedule has events slated to be hosted by the University of Arkansas at Monticello (March 28-30), the University of Tennessee at Martin (April 11-13) and Northwest Mississippi Community College (April 25-27).