The Panola College rodeo team traveled to Pittsburg, on October 21-22 in the third southern region college rodeo hosted by Northeast Texas Community College.
The women's team started the action off right by winning the championship. The victory helped to climb up in points and try to secure a spot in the top two teams in the region. The Fillies are now number three in the region, just 150 points behind second place.
"Our goal is not just to qualify, but to win the region. In the NIRA, the top two teams from each region move on the finals in Casper, Wyo.," said Jeff Collins, Panola College Rodeo Coach.
Abby Phillips and her horse Fame made a great run in the barrel racing, stopping the clock in just 15.94 seconds. Phillips was at the top of the leader board for the first three performances, with the only run under the 16 second mark. In the final performance they posted a time of 15.82 seconds, pushing Phillips into second place. The second place win earned the team 126 team points, but the individual points earned moved her to the number three spot in the region.
"The barrel racing in this region is tough and fast," Collins said. "Abby does a great job of keeping her horse in great shape and riding aggressive at all the rodeos. The top three in each event will qualify for the College National Finals in Casper, Wyo."
Laramie Johnson, sophomore, had an awesome run in the girls breakaway roping with a 2.6 second time for a fourth place finish.
"Johnson started the year on a horse that was being borrowed from another student because her horse had been a little sore," Collins noted. "After some time off and special treatment she was back on her personal horse and it proved to be back in great shape. Johnson competes in both the breakaway and team roping; she is a great horseman and dedicated athlete. Laramie will be at the top in the region and is expected to appear in the CNFR."
Team ropers from Panola College had a great weekend. Zach Moore, from Mt. Enterprise, was able to scoop two feet for his partner in 5.9 seconds. The time was the second fastest of the weekend and earned 126 valuable team points. Moore has been riding two different horses in the practice pen and has been working out which horse is best for him. He rode a paint horse this weekend and it appears he made the right choice. He is always going a threat to everyone in the team roping event, according to Collins.
Colton Hairgrove was not far behind scooping up two feet for his partner in just 7.7 seconds. The time was fast enough to finish in the 6th position. Hairgrove is a sophomore working on his second degree a Panola College. He will graduate in December and plans to transfer to SFA to complete his degree. He will be greatly missed.
Logan Cook, a freshman from Alto, did just like his teammates, roping two feet in 8.2 seconds and grabbing the 7th place spot. The 32 team points he earned where very valuable to the team and to his individual score. He is a three event cowboy that as already proved to be a great asset to the team, according to Collins.
Saddle bronc riding found Cook back at the top with 62 point ride and a 2nd place finish. He just keeps adding to his individual points in this event and is expected to be a contender for the regional title. Cook is now sitting in the number three spot in the region and looking great for his first CNFR qualification.
Sophomore bareback rider, Ethan Andrepont, scratched out a 60-point ride to win 4th in his event. Andrepont has been working very hard at perfecting his skill, and improving all the little parts of his profession.
"When Ethan first came to Carthage, he was very wet behind the ears; he has turned his whole game around and is expected to be at the top of the region this year. Ethan is the number one improved athlete on our team," said Collins.
The men's team has held its spot at number 3 in the region.
"We still have some grinding to do to sharpen up some more, but I know this team will continue to do just that and I am confident we will send a team to the CNFR," said Collins.