SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College is set to make the school's eighth consecutive appearance in the College National Finals Rodeo at next week's (June 10-16) event in Casper, Wyo. With competition slated to begin Sunday, the week-long CNFR will conclude with next Saturday night's championship round at the Casper Events Center.
Having posted consecutive Top 10 men's team national finishes the past two seasons, Coach Morgan Goodrich's EMCC Lions will be represented this year by a trio of cowboys, Tristan Martin, Ethan Wheeler and Jace Harris, who will be making return appearances at the prestigious CNFR.
Martin, out of Sulphur, La., returns to nationals to compete in steer wrestling after claiming this year's National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Ozark Region championship in the event with 655 total points collected during the regular-season schedule. The McNeese State University transfer earned 80 points for EMCC during last year's CNFR in the steer wrestling event.
Wheeler heads back to Wyoming after helping lead the Lions to last season's seventh-place national team finish by earning reserve champion (runner-up) honors as a heeler in team roping. The native of Pisgah, Ala., will again pair with UT Martin header Ross Mitchell after claiming short-go honors a year ago with a winning run of 5.5 seconds. Their composite score of 28.1 seconds during the week a year ago collected 180 points for each roper and garnered a second-place national overall finish in the team roping event.
Harris, a sophomore heeler from Vilonia, Ark., will also make a return CNFR appearance in team roping for EMCC. After teaming with Cooper Lee from Southern Arkansas University at the 2017 CNFR, Harris will this year pair with SAU's Logan Graham.
This year's College National Finals Rodeo is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN3, a 24/7 live digital network available via the WatchESPN app, beginning Wednesday and running through Saturday night's finals. Following three rounds of slack and performance competitions that take place through Friday night, Saturday evening will feature the short-go championship rounds in all nine events. Online results from this year's CNFR are slated to be available throughout the week at www.CNFR.com.
This season marks the fourth straight year that East Mississippi Community College will have at least three competitors participating in the College National Finals Rodeo. This year's EMCC trio will join current Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association members Marcus Theriot (2016 & 2017) and Will Lummus (2011 & 2012) as repeat CNFR participants for the Lions.
With five competitors making up EMCC's first-ever College National Finals Rodeo team appearance last season, the Lions totaled 425 points to finish seventh overall nationally a year ago and first among the 11 teams affiliated with the NIRA's Ozark Region.
Two years ago as the CNFR's all-around champion and tie-down roping national champion, Theriot single-handedly amassed 510 points to lead EMCC to a school-best, fifth-place national finish among the 2016 men's team standings.
Annually showcasing more than 400 collegiate cowboys and cowgirls from four-year universities and two-year junior colleges located throughout the country, the College National Finals Rodeo is where the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) annually crowns individual event champions in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying. The top three student-athletes in each event and the top two men's and women's teams from each of the NIRA's 11 regions annually qualify for the CNFR.
Contact: David Rosinski, EMCC Sports Information Director