UT MARTIN MEN'S TEAM, SEVEN TOTAL PARTICIPANTS EARN TRIPS TO THE 2018 CNFR
April 27, 2018
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MARTIN, Tenn. – The Ozark Region qualifiers for the upcoming College National Finals Rodeo have been announced as seven total University of Tennessee at Martin cowboys and cowgirls will compete for a national championship on June 10-16 in Casper, Wyo.
The UT Martin men’s team compiled 3,908.33 points on its way to finishing second in the Ozark Region this season. The squad enters the CNFR ranked No. 17 nationally and will be filled out at the CNFR by Cord Barricklow (steer wrestling), Colton Matthews (steer wrestling), Ryan McDaniel (bull riding), Ross Mitchell (team roping), Chase Thrasher (tie down roping) and Jonny Walker (bareback riding).
Kenzley Wilson from the UT Martin women’s team will also take part in the CNFR in barrel racing, earning a trip to the Casper after serving as the regional student director.
This will be the second career CNFR appearance for Barricklow, who also competed in the 2016 event while he was a student-athlete at Southern Arkansas. The graduate student from Lebanon, Ind. ranks fifth in the Ozark Region with 320 points in steer wrestling.
Matthews will make his CNFR debut in a little over six weeks, as the junior out of Homeland, Fla. is fourth in the Ozark Region in steer wrestling (420 points).
A junior from Yuma, Tenn., McDaniel is making his second consecutive CNFR appearance for UT Martin. He currently ranks third in the Ozark Region with 320 points in bull riding.
Making his second career CNFR appearance is Mitchell, who serves as the header in team roping. The sophomore from Bolivar, Tenn. ranks 16th in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and fourth in the Ozark Region with 555 points. That same duo won the short go and finished second in the nation in team roping at the 2017 CNFR.
Thrasher will compete on the CNFR stage for the first time, as the freshman from Columbia, Tenn. ranks 13th nationally and second in the Ozark Region in tie down roping (530 points).
A junior from Wildersville, Tenn., Walker will also make his CNFR debut in June. He currently ranks ninth in the NIRA and second in the Ozark Region with 1,000 accrued points in bareback riding.
Wilson is set for her second straight CNFR appearance for UT Martin, as the Black Oak, Ark. native ranks 10th in the Ozark Region with 190 points in barrel racing during her senior campaign.
The CNFR is the best of the best in college rodeo. It is where the NIRA crowns individual event champions in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying. National team championships are also awarded to both men’s and women’s teams. Over 400 cowboys and cowgirls from over 100 universities and colleges compete in Casper each year. Contestants compete all year in one of the NIRA’s 11 regions for a chance to rope or ride at the CNFR. The top three students in each event and top two men’s and women’s teams from the NIRA’s 11 regions will qualify for the CNFR.