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2002/06/12

Nine UT Martin Rodeo Team Members Earn Spots In National Finals The University of Tennessee at Martin rodeo team is taking nine members to the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) this month in Casper, Wyo. Four of the nine team members, Tim Hensley, Andy Carter, Trevor Williford and Angela Reynolds, earned automatic bids to the CNFR by virtue of finishing first or second in the Ozark Regional Standings. Hensley and Carter finished first and second respectively in the bareback riding, while Williford was second in the bull riding. Reynolds was second in the barrel racing. Scotty NeSmith and Josh Moon will advance to the CNFR's bareback riding competition because they finished among the top seven in the bareback average in the recent College Rodeo Championship Series (CRCS) in Lawton, Okla. Jamie McPeak, a senior from Lexington, Tenn., will represent UT Martin in the breakaway by virtue of her top seven finish in the CRCS breakaway average. Diane Aldwardt also clinched a berth for UT Martin in the goat tying competition. In the team roping event, Mark White, also from Lexington, Tenn., teamed with Casey Nay from Missouri Valley College to earn a spot in the national finals rodeo. "The key thing was we had nine people qualify for the CNFR," said UT Martin head rodeo coach John Luthi. "I am excited about those who qualified," Luthi said. "We have the potential to do well, but so many things can happen, and its all multiplied by four because you have three go arounds and the short round." Williford finished sixth in the nation at last year's CNFR and he's looking forward to the return trip. "Trevor is probably the healthiest he has ever been right now," Luthi said. "He finished sixth in last year's bull riding with a broken bone in his wrist, so we are hoping for better things this time." Injuries have haunted Moon most of the year, but like Williford he is healthy now. Moon either competed with injuries during the fall season or did not compete. He won the Ozark region All-Around a year ago and had to use this year's CRCS to qualify for the national finals. "If we focus and take care of our business like we are capable, we will be fine," Luthi said. The 2002 College National Finals Rodeo is set for June 11-15 at the Casper Events Center, Casper Wyo. The nation's best college cowboys and cowgirls from 11 regions, including UT Martin, enter into the CNFR arena in an effort to win national titles in saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying. The All-Around Cowboy and Cowgirl will also be determined as well as the national championship men's and women's teams. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m., including the Saturday championship round. Slack is set for 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, June 10 and 11.

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