The women’s rodeo team at the University of Arkansas at Monticello will compete for a national championship at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming on June 12-18 after winning the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s (NIRA) Ozark Region.
The NIRA’s Ozark Region includes teams from UAM, Missouri Valley College, the University of West Alabama, Southern Arkansas University, Three Rivers College, the University of Tennessee-Martin, East Mississippi Community College, Murray State University, and Northwest Mississippi Community College.
UAM was paced by sophomore Jessica Rowland of Bonnerdale, sophomore Abby Searcy of Monticello, sophomore Shann Roddenberry of Bristol, Fla., and junior Jesse Haynes of Abingdon, Ill. Rowland placed first in the season-long standings in goat tying and will compete in that event at the national finals. Searcy and Roddenberry finished fourth and sixth respectively in the region in barrel racing while Haynes finished 19th in the region in breakaway roping.
In addition to the team honors, UAM Rodeo Coach Rusty Jones was named the Ozark Region Coach of the Year.
“I’m real proud of our girls and what they accomplished this year,” said Jones. “To be able to compete in the nationals is a big honor.”
The College National Finals Rodeo will crown individual event champions in saddle bronc riding, bare back riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying. National team championships will also be awarded to both men’s and women’s teams. More than 400 cowboys and cowgirls from over 100 universities and colleges representing the NIRA’s 11 regions are expected to compete.