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Nine UT Martin Cowboys/Cowgirls Set for 2015 College National Finals Rodeo
By Ryne Rickman
MARTIN, Tenn. – A total of nine University of Tennessee at Martin rodeo team members are set to compete in the upcoming College National Finals Rodeo, which will once again be held in Casper, Wyo. on June 14-20.
The UT Martin men’s team will look to defend its national championship, as the team racked up 755 points last year to claim its first-ever CNFR title. The men’s team will be making its 42nd consecutive appearance in the CNFR after compiling 6,390 team points this year, entering the event as the No. 5 ranked team in the nation. Jacob Dagenhart, Clark Adcock, Lane Mitchell, Tanner Phipps and Zack Mabry will all represent UT Martin at the CNFR.
On the women’s side, UT Martin finished third in the Ozark Region with 1,805 points this year, marking the 10th consecutive season that the UT Martin cowgirls have finished in the top-five in the region. Dacia Horne, Nealey Dalton, Ashley Brooks and Natalie Fletcher will represent the UT Martin women’s team at the CNFR.
A senior out of Statesville, NC, Dagenhart will make his first career CNFR appearance. He will compete in tie down roping, steer wrestling and team roping (header, along with heeler Mabry). He ranks 11th in the nation in the men’s all-around standings (1,615 points), 17th in tie down roping (635 points) and 25th in steer wrestling (530 points).
Adcock will make his fourth CNFR appearance, as he will take part in the tie down roping and team roping (header, along with heeler Mitchell) events. The senior from Smithville, Tenn. ranks 16th nationally in team roping header (600 points) and 22nd in the men’s all-around standings (1,325 points) and was one of six members of UT Martin’s 2014 national championship squad.
A junior who hails from Bolivar, Tenn., Mitchell will join forces with Adcock in team roping at the CNFR. He will make his second CNFR appearance as he is nationally ranked in team roping heeler (600 points, 17th).
A member of UT Martin’s 2014 national championship team, Phipps returns for his second straight CNFR appearance this year. The senior out of Dalton, Ga. will take part in bareback riding, as he ranks 14th nationally in that category with 1,050 points.
Mabry will make his second overall CNFR appearance but first as a UT Martin cowboy after he advanced two years ago as a member of Troy University. The senior from Oneonta, Ala. will perform heeler duties with Dagenhart in the team roping event.
A senior from Lebanon, Tenn., Horne will compete in barrel racing in her second CNFR appearance. She currently ranks 14th in the nation with 760 points in that event.
Dalton will also make her second career appearance in the CNFR, as the junior from Adamsville, Tenn. will take part in barrel racing.
Making her CNFR debut is Brooks, as the freshman out of South Fulton, Tenn. will represent UT Martin in the barrel racing event.
Fletcher will compete in breakaway roping at the 2015 CNFR. It will be the second CNFR appearance for the junior out of Knoxville, Tenn.
Considered the “Rose Bowl” of college rodeo, the CNFR is where the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association crowns individual champions in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying. National team championships are also awarded to both men’s and women’s teams. Over 400 cowboys and cowgirls from over 100 universities and colleges compete in Casper each year. Contestants compete all year in one of the NIRA’s 11 regions for a chance to rope or ride at the CNFR. The top three students in each event and top two men’s and women’s teams from the NIRA’s 11 regions qualify for the CNFR.
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