In the world of college rodeo, Tarleton State has assembled prize-winning teams for years.
TSU is a force to be reckoned with in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Region, which is a power conference.
Each year, the school’s rodeo teams compete in 10 regular season events. When the season concludes in April, the top two teams from the region advance to the College National Finals Rodeo.
This year, the Tarleton men’s team advanced to the College National Finals, which begins Sunday and runs through June 22 in Casper, Wyo.
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Tarleton clinched the title with 4,955 points. Weatherford College finished second with 3,720.
Tarleton coach Mark Eakin said TSU teams thrive on a winning mentality.
“It’s tradition at Tarleton,” Eakin said. “When you walk into a home like Tarleton, they expect you to win and I also expect to win.”
This season, Tarleton benefited from savvy competitors such as Billy Bob Brown, who clinched the 2013-2014 NIRA Southwest Region all-around and tie-down roping titles. Tarleton also was aided by Richmond Champion, who finished No. 1 in bareback riding.
Weatherford College’s second-place finish in the venerable Southwest Region also commands respect. WC is coached by former Wrangler National Finals Rodeo tie-down roping qualifier Johnny Emmons.
This season, Weatherford has benefited from Casey Tew, who won the regional team roping heading, and steer wrestler Paul Lewis Melvin, who won the steer wrestling title.
Tarleton is also sending a women’s team to the College National Finals. TSU finished second in the regional standings behind Eastern New Mexico. Lindsey Nelle Trammell helped Tarleton earn the berth by clinching the barrel racing title.
In the NIRA’s Southern Region, the Hill College men’s team, which is led by longtime coach Paul Brown, advanced to the 2014 CNFR by winning the regional team title. Hill benefited from standout riders such as Blane Allen Cox, who won both the all-around and tie-down roping titles.
On the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit, eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Bradley Harter of Weatherford won the saddle bronc riding title at the Southwestern International PRCA Rodeo last weekend in El Paso. He turned in a score of 84.
Harter is 15th in the PRCA’s saddle bronc riding world standings with $21,576.
As he attempts to earn a record 12th PRCA world all-around title, Trevor Brazile of Decatur won the tie-down roping title ($1,989) at last weekend’s Beef Empire Days PRCA Rodeo in Garden City, Kan.
He is ranked No. 1 in the 2014 world all-around race with $99,444, just $556 shy of reaching the $100,000 mark for a record 17th consecutive season.
High school update
The area’s top high school riders are in Abilene this week to compete in the Texas High School Rodeo Association Finals.
The nine-day rodeo began last weekend and runs through Saturday at the Taylor County Expo Center.