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WC Rodeo Second Half Preview

The last time the Weatherford College rodeo team did not send at least one competitor to the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR), the members of the current team were in elementary school.

Looking around the standings in the Southwest Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, it doesn't appear the streak of 12 consecutive seasons advancing to the CNFR will come to an end.

The top two teams overall and top three individuals in each event in the final regular-season standings qualify for the CNFR in Caspar, Wyoming June 9-17. The second half of the season begins Thursday-Saturday (Feb. 23-25) at Odessa.

The Lady Coyotes are fourth in the women's team standings with 582.5 points. Tarleton leads with 1,230 and Eastern New Mexico is second with 1,070.83.

"Our women’s team is pretty strong. We are very strong in barrel racing this year with Brogan (Macy), Cheyenne (Jinks), Sadye Simpson, Sloan Anderson, and Callie Davenport already winning points this year, along with Chelsea Stodghill who placed some last year," coach Johnny Emmons said.

"Kelsey (Espenson) is very strong in breakaway and goat tying. I have a lot of confidence in her being successful for us, and of course Laramie Zant is also tough in goats and breakaway."

Macy is second in barrel racing with 320 points and Jinks is third with 250. Illysa Grace of Western Texas leads with 340.

"Brogan has an outstanding horse. She has been winning regularly on the pro-am circuits, and as long as her horse stays sound and working good, I think she has a good chance at it all," Emmons said.

"Cheyenne, too, has an outstanding horse. It’s the same with all of those barrel horses, they play such an intricate role. It all depends on if they're sound and feeling good, running good, drawing up on the right ground (wet, dry, deep, top of the ground and so forth). The position draw plays a role too, but Cheyenne's horse is one of the fastest and is more than capable of making the CNFR."

Macy is also ranked 19th nationally in barrels.

Though standing ninth in tie-down roping, Garrett Jacobs is just 40 points out of third with 135 points. Emmons believes he has a second-half surge in him.

"Garrett, as you know, is a former national high school champion, great competitor and very talented in multiple events. He is definitely a threat to make a second-half surge," Emmons said.

Jace Davis, with 120 points, is eighth in team roping-heeler. Emmons said he expects a second-rally from him as well.

"Jace, Chase Chambers, Pace Blanchard are all top-of-the-line ropers. They just have not had a lot of luck so far, but I expect they will all be shooting for a spot by the end of the season," he said.

Zant is eighth in breakaway roping with 147.5 points, 57.5 out of third. Espenson has 115 points and is 11th in goat tying, 95 out of third.

The Coyotes men's team has 440 points to stand ninth after the first half. Tarleton leads with 2,213.33 and Western Texas is second with 1,430.

"We are a fairly young team this year, very talented, but off to a slower start than we would like," Emmons said. "But I have faith in their abilities, and by the time it all shakes out, I bet we have a few in the thick of it."

The remainder of the second-half schedule includes March 23-25 at Ranger, March 30-April 1 at Western Texas, April 6-8 at Howard, and April 20-22 at Tarleton.

by Rick Mauch