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UT Martin Women’s Team Tops Field at 53rd Annual Spring College Rodeo


By Ryne Rickman; Photo credit: UT Martin University Relations

MARTIN, Tenn. – The 53rd annual UT Martin Spring College Rodeo was a stirring success as the Skyhawk women’s squad finished first and the men’s team took third place in the final team standings of the three-day event, April 15-17, 2021.

The UT Martin women’s team accrued 365 points – their most since a 480-point performance at Northwest Mississippi on April 25-27, 2019 – for a convincing victory, defeating second-place East Mississippi by 120 points. On the men’s side, UT Martin’s 530 points ranked just behind East Mississippi (540) in second place as Missouri Valley College won with 860 points.

Three UT Martin cowboys earned points in bareback riding, led by Blake Leamon who split first in the opening round (77) and finished fifth in average (129). Stetson Bierman’s 59 points in the short go and 114 average each finished in fifth place, while Weston Hamilton’s 64 in the first round was good enough to split fifth.

In calf roping, Chase Thrasher picked up points in all three phases as the senior from Columbia, Tenn. placed second in average (18.9), third in the opening round (9.1) and third in the short go (9.8). Robbie Van Holten additionally came away with points in all three phases, generating times of 19.4 in average (split third), 9.5 in the first go (fourth) and 9.9 in the second round (fourth). Cole Walker’s 9.3 seconds in the short go was the second-best time and his 19.4 average split third with Van Holten. UT Martin’s fourth cowboy to accumulate points in the event was Tyler Brooks, who placed sixth in both average (20.7) and in the second round (10.2).

Grace Bryant stood out all weekend for the UT Martin women’s squad, starting success with a remarkable performance in breakaway roping. The freshman out of Pendleton, SC split first in average (5.4), after having the best time in the opening go (2.4), and split second in the short round (3.0).

A pair of UT Martin cowboys accrued points in saddle bronc riding. Tyler Pruitt won the opening round with a score of 72, and his 133 average and 61 short go performance ranked him third and fifth, respectively. Jack Smithson was also solid throughout, collecting points in all three opportunities: 66 short round, third place; 131 average, fourth; 65 first go, split fourth.

Walker started out the steer wrestling event on a tear, as the sophomore from Sparta, Tenn. registered 4.8 seconds for the best time in the field. That effort carried over into the average to place him fifth in that category.

The UT Martin women’s team compiled points from four cowgirls in goat tying. Kailey Schmidt led the way with second-place finishes in average (14.0) and in the short round (6.7). Shayne Mallory earned times of 7.5 in the second go (fourth place), 14.7 in average (fifth place) and 7.2 in the opening round (split sixth). First round scorers also included Bryant (6.6, split second) and Lauren Heck (6.8, split fourth).

Bryant generated points in her third event of the weekend – team roping, joining forces with Van Holten to split sixth in the opening round with a time of 9.7 seconds.

Capping off the UT Martin women’s team win was a noteworthy performance by Madison McFall in barrel racing. The junior from Columbia, Tenn. placed second in average (26.67) and finished fourth in both the opening go (13.32) and in the short round (13.35).

Both UT Martin squads conclude their 2020-21 regular season in Senatobia, Miss., traveling to Northwest Mississippi Community College on April 22-24, 2021.

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