TROY, Ala. – After the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association announced its final points standings on Monday, the Troy women’s rodeo team and five other Troy individuals have officially qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in June.
The women’s team capped off its most successful season in team history this past weekend at the Tennessee-Martin Rodeo with a third place finish. The Trojans finished with five team wins over its 10 events, and used a plethora of individuals to help grab the 2012-13 Ozark Region team championship. As of Monday’s points standings, the Trojans sat fifth in the nation behind Idaho State, College of Southern Idaho, Utah Valley and UNLV.
The men’s team finished the year eighth with 1,310 points and saw consistent work from Nelson Wyatt and Zack Mabry to wrap up its 2012-13 season as a team.
In order to qualify for the CNFR, individuals must finish in the top three of their respective points standings, while the top two teams from each region qualify for the season-finale in Casper, Wyo.
Two Trojans will take part in goat tying on the national stage, Troy’s most successful event this season. Sisters Kesia and Kassandra Smith finished the year first and second in the Ozark Region goat tying standings, and will be joined by Southern Arkansas’ Loni Pearce on their trip to Wyoming. Kesia, just a freshman, finished the season with 870 points while her sister and junior, Kassandra, finished with 580.
Two other Trojans finished inside the top-15 in goat tying, including Lanie Culligan (ninth) and Kelsey Kennemer (15th).
Kennemer, also a freshman, qualified for the CNFR in breakaway roping after finishing the year second just 15 points behind the leader Chesley Merrigan of Missouri Valley College. Culligan also appeared in the final points standings of breakaway with a seventh place finish.
Zack Mabry will represent the men’s team in June after he and his partner, Ben Walker of Tennessee-Martin, picked up a second place finish in the region with 625 points. The duo stuck together all season and turned in solid performances and will be joined by event champions duos John Alley and Clark Adcock and Lane Mitchell and Clay Mitchell, all members of Tennessee-Martin.
Wyatt, who did not qualify for the finals, did put up consistent numbers all year and finished 10th in steer wrestling and ninth in tie down roping.
As a team, the women are allowed to take four members to participate, and Lanie Culligan will be Troy’s fourth competitor to make the trip along with Kennemer and the Smith duo.
The Troy women’s team will be joined by Southern Arkansas of the Ozark Region, while Tennessee-Martin and Missouri Valley College will represent the men’s region.
The 65th Annual College National Finals Rodeo will begin June 9 and will run through June 15 at the Casper Events Center. The CNFR is the “Rose Bowl” of college rodeo. It is where the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association crowns individual event champions in saddle bronco riding, bare back riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying.
National team championships are also awarded to both men’s and women’s teams. Over 400 cowboys and cowgirls from over 100 universities and colleges compete in Casper each year. Contestants compete all year in one of the NIRA’s 11 regions for a chance to rope or ride at the CNFR.
For more information, be sure to visit TroyTrojans.com. Fans can find Troy Athletics on Twitter at @TroyAthletics, Troy Rodeo at @TroyRodeo, and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TroyAthletics or www.Facebook.com/TroyUniversityRodeoTeam.