EMCC set to host intercollegiate rodeo

From school reports

SCOOBA — More than 200 college cowboys and cowgirls will compete this week at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center in Meridian during a National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association-sanctioned event hosted by East Mississippi Community College’s rodeo team.

Gates will open nightly at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets for the three-day event are $10 at the door and $5 for students.  Admission is free for children age 5 and younger. The rodeo will also feature a calf scramble for children ages 6-10 and a pig scramble for children 5 and younger.

This is the first year the EMCC-hosted rodeo event will take place at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center.  The rodeo was previously held at The Ranch in West Point the past four years.

“We are excited about the move to Meridian,” EMCC head rodeo coach Morgan Goodrich said.  “It is a nice facility and has plenty of horse stalls and hookups.  Also, there are a lot of hotels and places to eat available to those who are coming from out of town.”

Collegiate participants within the 10-team Ozark Region will compete in bareback riding, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, goat tying, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding.  Contestants hail from four-year universities and two-year junior colleges located in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri.  

This week’s NIRA Ozark Region event in Meridian begins the spring rodeo season and is the sixth regional event of the 10 slated for the 2016-17 college season.  The contestants compete for points during each event in hopes of making it to the College National Finals Rodeo to be held in June in Casper, Wyoming.

Presently ranked 11th nationally and second regionally behind nationally top-ranked Missouri Valley College, the EMCC men’s rodeo team closed out a successful fall campaign by claiming back-to-back titles at Murray State University and Southern Arkansas University.

Headlining EMCC’s rodeo program again this year is Poplarville native Marcus Theriot, who claimed the All-Around national championship and individual tie-down roping title during last year’s College National Finals Rodeo.