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The 46th Annual UT Martin Rodeo


Article and photos by Jeremie Newcom

Well, it’s bulls and blood. It’s dust and mud. It’s the roar of a Sunday crowd. It’s the white in his knuckles, the gold in the buckle. He’ll win the next go ‘round. It’s boots and chaps. It’s cowboy hats. It’s spurs and latigo. It’s ropes and the reins, and the joy and the pain. And they call the thing rodeo.” 
-Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks sang about it and the students on the UT Martin rodeo team are living it. The 46th Annual UT Martin Rodeo was held April 10-12, 2014 at the Ned McWherter Agricultural Complex in Martin, TN before thousands of rodeo enthusiasts. 

In barrel racing, a timed event, the rider and horse must make two turns one direction and one in the other around three barrels which are set in a triangular pattern.  Fastest time wins. Nealey Dalton, age 19 from Adamsville, Tennessee, was the 2014 UTM Barrel Racing event winner. For her fourth birthday, Dalton was given a pony she named Peanut. At the age of seven, she began competing in 4-H, moving on to compete in junior and high school rodeo. She loves the barrel racing because of the “fast pace and adrenaline rush” she gets when she goes through the gate. Dalton, who is studying animal science and aspires to be a large animal veterinarian, earned a spot at this year’s College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming.

Jerry Rogers, the 2014 UTM Rodeo Bull Riding winner, has been riding bulls for less than a year. Bull riding is the most dangerous rodeo riding event, but when Rogers, who played football in high school, heard about the opportunity to get on a bull at the Sankey Rodeo School, he “jumped on it.” The twenty-one-year old former quarterback fell in love with sport and has been riding bulls competitively ever since.

Bareback bronc riding, originally based on the necessary horse breaking skills of a working cowboy, is now a highly stylized competition. A specially designed collection of leather and cinches, called bareback riggin, is used for this event. Unlike the bull rope, this one is really tied on to the animal and has a built-in hand hold. A bareback rider must start the ride with both of his feet extended forward over the horse’s shoulders and on the first leap out of the chute, “rake” backwards toward the horse’s rump. If the rider misses this, it does not matter how great the rest of the ride is, the rider will receive a disqualification. Tanner Phipps, age 24, was this year’s Bareback Riding event winner.

John Alley, a graduating senior, only started steer wrestling his freshman year at UT Martin. Steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, is a rodeo event in which a horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse which is running flat out onto the steer, wrestling the steer to the ground. Once all four legs of the steer are off the ground, an official waves a flag marking the end and a time is taken. The twenty-two-year old from Adams, Tennessee, was the 2014 Steer Wrestling event winner. Alley, the All-Around cowboy for the 46th Annual UT Martin Rodeo, with his partner, Clark Adock, earned a spot at this year’s College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming, for team roping.

UT Martin Rodeo team results:

         Nealey Dalton – 1st Barrel Racing
         Tanner Phipps – 1st Bareback Riding
         Clark Adcock – 2nd Calf Roping
         John Alley – 1st Steer Wrestling
         Jerry Rogers – 1st Bull Riding
         Ben Walker & Zac Mabry – 2nd Team Roping

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