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UT Martin Rodeo Teams Bring Home Top-Four Finishes in Season Finale


By Ryne Rickman

SENATOBIA, Miss. – The 2021-22 regular season for the University of Tennessee at Martin rodeo program came to an end the weekend of April 28-30, 2022, as the men finished third and the women’s squad placed fourth at Northwest Mississippi Community College.

The Skyhawk cowboys registered 480 points over the three-day event, while the UT Martin cowgirls accumulated 100 points. Missouri Valley College won the team titles in both genders, managing 900 points on the men’s side and 411.66 points in the women’s standings.

­Fresh off her successful rodeo the previous weekend (April 21-23, 2022) at Arkansas-Monticello, Emma Kate Wilder continued to perform well in breakaway roping. The freshman from Millington, Tenn. was third in the opening go (2.5 seconds), placed fifth in average (5.7) and sixth in the short round (3.2).

Jack Smithson collected points in two phases of saddle bronc riding, led by a third-place effort of 75 points in his opening round performance. That 75 carried over into his average score to give the Springfield, Tenn. native a sixth-place finish.

UT Martin boasted the top two point-getters in steer wrestling in Cole Walker and Jesse Keysaer. Walker’s time of 4.2 in the first round was tops in the field, as he went on to split first (with Keysaer) with an 8.6 average and place second with a 4.4 in the short go. Meanwhile, Keysaer’s 4.0 flat time in the short round was the best mark in the field, while his 4.6 in the opening go ranked fourth.

In goat tying, Kailey Schmidt tallied points for the Skyhawks with a first round time of 7.7 seconds, the fourth-best time in the field.

Four cowboys combined for points in the team roping event. Cole Walker teamed up with Will McCraw for a fourth-place showing in the opening go (6.3), a fifth-place effort in average (15.3), and a sixth-place performance in the short round (9.0). Cody Hogan and Justin Sailors notched a time of 7.7 seconds in the opening round, which was good enough for sixth place.

Holli Covey led the charge for the UT Martin women’s team in barrel racing; the Junior from Rossville, Georgia finished fifth in all three phases with a 29.2 average, a 14.49 in the first round and a 14.71 in the short go. Mollie Stroup rounded the barrels, as her 14.91 in the second round placed her sixth.

The Skyhawks will compete in the 74th annual College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming on June 12-18, 2022.

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