By: Devin Smith
The spring schedule of the Ozark Region is just around the corner for Troy’s rodeo team.
The CCUA Collegiate Rodeo in Texarkana, Ark. will mark the first time in nearly three months since the Trojans have been in competition. It is the first of five out-of-state competitions this spring for Troy, included are trips to Mississippi and Tennessee.
The men stalled to 10th overall in the region standings and are in dire need of a solid spring to gain some ground. They will look to senior Lane Taylor and sophomore Nelson Wyatt to carry much of that burden in order to return to contention.
Coach Josh Simmons knows how important having both Taylor and Wyatt together is for a chance to climb out of the ashes of the fall. According to troytrojans.com, Simmons explained recently that “Nelson Wyatt is my superstar and he’s my backbone.”
“Lane and Nelson have worked together a lot in the past, both within collegiate rodeo and outside in other events, and having those two back working together really helps,” said Simmons.
Wyatt was a dangerous competitor during the 2011-2012 year, and was particularly successful in the steer wrestling, calf roping and team roping events. Taylor is a solid competitor across the board, most notably being very consistent in the team roping category.
The Trojan Spurs will also be hoping for a continuation of the recent success of Zach Mabry. He currently ranks second in team roping with 375 points as well as four top-five finishes in the fall with his partner Ben Walker of Tennessee-Martin.
The women’s team has had much better fortune this year thus far. Their 1,188 points is good for second in the region, less than 100 points behind first place Southern Arkansas. The women’s team has a little more depth and in turn is slightly better-rounded as a unit.
“I’m looking forward to performance by Kennemer, Sellars, Niewoehner and the two Smith’s,” Simmons said. “Most of them are freshman and it’s going to be pretty exciting to see them get back.”
There are four women ranked in the top-15 in goat tying, including Kassandra Smith at second with 360 points. Kelsey Kennemer sits at fourth in breakaway roping, with Anna Niewohner not far behind at 11th.
The Trojan Spurs will travel to their first competition in Texarkana, Ark., on Feb. 21-23.