CASPER, Wyo. – East Mississippi Community College's Carli Hodges placed 27th among the nation's best collegiate barrel racers during last week's College National Finals Rodeo held at the Casper (Wyo.) Events Center.
Having automatically qualified for this year's CNFR by claiming the regular-season barrel racing championship of the Ozark Region within the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, Hodges totaled 45.54 seconds for her three runs during last week's barrel racing competition at the collegiate rodeo national championships. She began the week with a 15.18-second clocking in the opening round followed by an improved time of 14.95 seconds during the second go-round. Hodges capped her week at nationals with a 15.41-second run in Friday's third-round action.
In compiling an Ozark Region-best 865 total points to rank fifth nationally among the collegiate barrel racing standings during the 10-event regular season, Hodges became the 16th student-athlete overall and the fourth woman to represent East Mississippi Community College at the College National Finals Rodeo since the inception of the school's rodeo program in 2010. During this past regular season, the Summerdale, Ala., native claimed NIRA Ozark Region barrel racing event titles held at the University of West Alabama, Southern Arkansas University, the University of Arkansas at Monticello and Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Featuring 45 student-athletes in the event, this year's CNFR barrel racing competition was won by Ashtyn Carlson of the College of Southern Idaho, who totaled 57.03 seconds in four runs, including a 14.03-second effort during Saturday's finals, to compile 340 total points for the women's team runner-up.
McNeese State claimed the women's team championship of the 2019 CNFR with 462.5 total points, while Panola Junior College collected the men's team title with 825 points.
Under the guidance of ninth-year head rodeo coach Morgan Goodrich, East Mississippi Community College has been represented at the College National Finals Rodeo every year dating back to EMCC's inaugural season of rodeo competition. On the men's side, the Lions registered consecutive Top 10 national team finishes during each of the previous three years at the CNFR. Individually, former EMCC cowboys and current Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association members Marcus Theriot and Tristan Martin earned national championships in 2016 and 2018, respectively.