Men’s Rodeo Team Places Sixth in Nation
Coach Paul Brown is proud of his Hill College men’s rodeo team, which placed sixth in the nation at the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) during the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR). They tied for sixth with Western Oklahoma State College.
“I am tickled to death how well they did,” Brown said. “We ended up right where we hoped we would.”
The 63rd annual CNFR was held at the Casper (WY) Events Center June 10-17 with 367 athletes from 11 regions of the NIRA competing for national championships, scholarships, saddles and buckles. This year’s national championship team is Tarleton State University, with Panhandle State University coming in as reserve champions.
The Hill College men’s team finished their season with 4,496.50 points, making them the Southern Region Reserve Champion Team behind Wharton County Junior College, just edging out McNeese State University and Sam Houston State University. That was enough to qualify the Rebels to be the fourth HC athletic team to qualify for a national tournament this season.
Outstanding for Hill College was Forrest Fisher from Navasota, TX, who took the reserve national champion title in team roping as a header. He was roping with Trace Porter from McNeese State University. The team was edged out by just over a second for the championship.
Brown said Fisher and his partner Trace Porter actually lost on the draw, because “The team that won drew much better cattle.” The team placed 7th in the first round, 2nd in the second round, just out of placing in the 3rd round, and 2nd in the short round making them 25.6 seconds on four steers. Fisher placed third in the region in team roping qualifying him for the CNFR.
Cole Hatfield of Guthrie, TX, who was southern region champ in saddle bronc riding, also had a good showing at the finals. Cole got thrown off his first horse but came back strong placing 7th in the second round and just out of placing in the third round. Cole came back 11th in the short round placing 2nd in the short round and ended up 6th in the nation.
Regional reserve all-around champion Blane Cox of Cameron, Tx qualified for the finals in two events. This was Blane’s third trip to the CNFR with two top ten finishes in the calf roping. “I thought he was going to win it,” Brown said. “But a missed calf in the first round kept him out of the average.” Blane came back with a vengeance winning the 2nd and the 3rd rounds of calf roping. Blane tied the arena record with a 7.4 second run in the 3rd round.
Hill College bull rider, Justin Hendrix from Little River Academy, TX, and bareback riders, Cody Smith from Bastrop, LA and Spur Lacasse of Canada, rode well, but failed to place at the national event. Hendrix was reserve champion in the southern region last year, and champion this year. Smith was reserve champion at region this year.
Brown said the outcomes are not always predictable. Two years ago Hill College ended up Southern Region Reserve Champion men’s team and ended up 5th in the nation. Last year HC won the Southern Region men’s team championship but ended up 19th in the nation. This year they were the Southern Region Reserve Champion men’s team and finished tied for 6th in the nation.