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UT Martin Rodeo Opens Spring Schedule at East Mississippi


By Ryne Rickman

MERIDIAN, Miss. – The University of Tennessee at Martin duo of Chase Thrasher and Cole Walker earned first-place finishes in all three phases of the team roping event as the University of Tennessee at Martin rodeo squads began the spring portion of their season at East Mississippi Community College.

Coming into the spring opener already ranked third in the nation in team roping, Thrasher (header) and Walker (heeler) continued their dominance this weekend. The tandem produced top times in average (12.1), first round (6.5), and short goes (5.6). Joining the top-finishing pair of Thrasher and Walker in team roping were Tyler Brooks and Allen Morse, as their 6.8 in the first round split third and split sixth in average.

Overall, the UT Martin men’s team finished third in the team standings with 550 points, while the women’s squad came in fourth place with 150 points. It marked the fourth time this season that the men’s team had eclipsed 500 points in a rodeo, while the 150 points were the second-highest tally of the season for the women’s team.

A pair of cowboys garnered points for UT Martin in bareback riding. Stetson Bierman placed fourth in the short round with a score of 73, and his 142-point average was good enough for sixth place. Blake Leamon also produced points for his opening-round 71, which was the sixth-best score.

On the women’s side, Grace Bryant secured points in all three phases of breakaway roping. The freshman out of Pendleton, SC finished third in the opening go (2.4), fifth in the short round (4.7), and fifth in average (7.1).

Bryant continued her successful spring opener by accruing points in goat tying, as her 7.5 in the first round was the third-best time in the field. Shayne Mallory provided points in the final two phases, placing fifth in the short go (8.2) and sixth in average (16.2).

Tyler Pruitt performed well in saddle bronc riding; he placed second in the opening round (68), third in average (121), and fourth in the short go (53). He was joined in scoring by Jack Smithson, whose 61-point first round and 61-point average finished third and fourth, respectively.

In steer wrestling, three UT Martin cowboys came away with points. Logan Neal led the pack after finishing first in average (12.3), splitting first in the second round (5.1), and placing fourth in the opening round (7.2). Thrasher split first alongside Neal in the short go with a time of 5.1 seconds and also finished fifth with a 21.2 average. Additionally, Robbie Van Holten’s 9.5 score in the first round split sixth.

Mollie Stroup paced the women’s team in barrel racing as her time of 15.37 seconds in the short go placed her fifth in the field.

UT Martin travels to Poplarville, Miss. for a rodeo hosted by Pearl River Community College on March 25-27.

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