SWTJC Rodeo Team Shines at Spring Opener

SWTJC Rodeo Team Shines at Spring Opener

The Southwest Texas Junior College Rodeo Team is off to an impressive start as they begin the push through the final five spring contests.

The team traveled to Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas February 7 and 8. With 14 colleges and universities in attendance, SWTJC had seven contestants that qualified for the second round of competition in the final short-round.

“This event was a long-go, short-go format,” explained Coach Joey Almand. “The goal is to get as many kids as possible inside the top 10 after round one. From there those top 10 advance into the short round. Having seven qualify for the short-round was a real achievement. I’m really proud of their performance.”

The highlight of the event for SWTJC was a Tie-Down title win by Sophomore Tyler West. West of Mertzon, Texas finished fifth in round one with a 9.6 then mirrored his first run posting another 9.6 second run—the fastest time in the short-round. After finishing fifth in round one and first in the short-round, West clinched the Champion Tie-Down Roping title. This win propelled West into second place in the Southern Region Tie-Down standings. West also finished fifth in the Team Roping.

“Anytime you come home with a title, it’s a big deal,” said coach Almand. “West is a very talented cowboy in several events, but he is really shining this year in the Tie-Down Roping. This was a big accomplishment to win this title. It puts him in a great position heading into the final four events.”

SWTJC Freshman and Tie-Down Roper Hagen Herring from Normangee, Texas finished second in round one with a 9.2 second run and ended the weekend seventh overall.

Cowgirl and SWTJC Sophomore Paige Dawson of Burton, Texas finished the weekend third in the goat tying. Dawson was a rapid 6.7 on her first goat finishing fourth. In the short-round she tied another 6.7 landing her third in the short-round and third in the average. The finish moved her from fourth to third in the regional standings.
SWTJC Steer Wrestler Cal Wolfe was 4.4 in round one finishing seventh, 4.6 in the short-round finishing fourth and ultimately split fifth in the average.

In the Team Roping, the SWTJC Cowboys really shined with three Headers advancing to the short-round. Sophomore Chase Ruhnke was fourth in round one, third in the short round and third in the average. Reno Stoebner finished second in round one and fourth in both the short-round and average. Stoebner’s performance moved him into third place in the regional heading standings.

At the conclusion of the event SWTJC has four athletes in the top three in the Southern Region standings. Breakaway Roper Haley Kiehne and Tie-Down Roper Tyler West both sit second, while Header Reno Stoebner and Goat Tyer Paige Dawson both sit third.

“We have a lot of skilled athletes, but the Southern Region is stacked with talent. We are all trying to get qualified for the College National Finals and you need to be in the top three in an event to qualify. This was a big weekend for these four athletes. Being in that top three puts the CNFR within their grasp.”

The team’s next contest will be February 21 and 22 when they travel to Texas A&M Commerce in Sulphur Springs, Texas.