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Last college rodeo stop in Stephenville just for show

The Bull Riding Hall of Fame inductions will be held May 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in conjunction with the official grand opening of the hall in the historic Cowtown Coliseum in the legendary Fort Worth Stockyards.
The Bull Riding Hall of Fame inductions will be held May 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in conjunction with the official grand opening of the hall in the historic Cowtown Coliseum in the legendary Fort Worth Stockyards. Courtesy of the Bull Riding Hall of Fame

The Tarleton State men’s team will enter the school’s annual rodeo in Stephenville this weekend with the regional men’s team title clinched.

The Tarleton Rodeo, Thursday through Saturday at Lone Star Arena, is the last of 10 regular season shows in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southwest Region.

Through nine shows this season, Tarleton is ranked No. 1 in the men’s team standings with 3,843.33 points. Western Texas College is second with 2,505 and Weatherford College is third with 2,160.

In the women’s regional standings, Texas Tech is No. 1 with 2,122.5 points and has the title clinched. Eastern New Mexico is second with 1,464.99 and Tarleton third with 1,343.33.

The region’s top two teams after this weekend advance to the College National Finals Rodeo in June in Casper, Wyo.

Like old times

Sawyer Vest grew up with the grandest of opportunities to learn prize-winning roping.

He’s the grandson of Clifton Smith of Childress, who qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in tie-down roping in 1960 and 1962. He’s a nephew of Stran Smith, the 2008 world champion tie-down roper from Childress. He’s a first cousin of three-time world champion Tuf Cooper of Decatur. He’s also a first cousin of Decatur’s Shada Brazile, a 2013 NFR barrel racing qualifier and wife of 23-time world champion Trevor Brazile.

Though Sawyer Vest was raised in a royal rodeo family and competed in rodeos in high school and his early college years, he devoted most of his energy toward football. He was quarterback at Childress High School and a defensive back for Texas Tech in 2011.

Today, Vest, 27, works on his family’s ranch near Childress. Since his freshman year at Texas Tech, his roping activities have been sparse.

But last weekend, Vest entered the Cottle-King Old Settlers Rodeo in Paducah. His 9.4-second time on Friday ended up being the fastest time of the entire rodeo.

“My nerves were going like I was playing in a college football game,” Vest said. “I was fortunate to make a smooth run.”

Home win

On the Professional Bull Riders circuit, Jess Lockwood, an 18-year-old rookie, won last weekend’s Built Ford Tough Series tour stop in Billings, Mont., a three-hour trip from where he grew up in Volborg, Mont. The tour stops in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday and Sunday. After that, it’s off to Las Vegas on May 13-15.

Hall of Fame

The Bull Riding Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2016 inductees. The class includes bull riders Myrtis Dightman, John Quintana, Gary Leffew, Jim Sharp, Terry Don West, Jack Wiseman and Tuff Hedeman. Also legends Harry Vold and the Steiner Rodeo Company; bull fighter Kajun Kidd; and bull Tornado.

The induction ceremony will be May 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards, in conjunction with the opening of the Bull Riding Hall of Fame. For details go to BullRidingHallofFame.com.

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