LEVELLAND — Following one of the most successful seasons in program history, the South Plains College men's and women's rodeo teams will kick off their 2018 campaign this weekend at the Eastern New Mexico University Rodeo Sept. 20-22 in Portales at the Lewis Cooper Rodeo Arena.
After earning their highest finish ever in the Southwest Region last season, the Lady Texans will enter the year as the three-time defending Western Junior College Athletic Conference Champions as they have won four of the last five conference titles under head coach Kerry Doster.
That said, the Lady Texans will return just three cowgirls from a year ago and will count upon six new freshmen to take over the reigns and continue to compete in one of the toughest regions in the country.
"Freshman Elle Eagles was a national champion in barrel racing a couple years ago, and Kaytlyn Miller is another freshman who was an all-around champion that we brought in," Doster said. "We will see what they do this weekend, but we're pretty excited about the group we have coming in."
The Texans proved to be one of the top programs in the region a year ago and will look to improve upon a sixth-place finish in the final regional standings. The Texans bring back Stefan Ramone and Hadley Cloward, two cowboys who each finished in the top 10 in the region in team roping a year ago.
The Texans will welcome nine new cowboys to the program including Cooper Bennett, a freshman from Roosevelt, Utah who won the bareback riding competition last weekend at the 2018 South Plains College Rink Bownds Memorial Rodeo in Levelland.
"We return two good team ropers in Hadley Cloward and Stefan Ramone, and they competed this past weekend at our amateur rodeo and finished fifth," Doster said. "We brought in a kid named Cooper Bennett who is a very good bareback rider, and another freshman named Logan Wiseman who was an all-around champion in Kansas. Our men's team finished sixth in the region last year and bringing in a bareback rider who can earn points even on the minimal side of it, that can put us in the hunt in the top three and I hope can get us there this year."
Following the trip to Portales, South Plains will return to the arena Sept. 27-29 in Alpine at the Sul Ross State University Rodeo, followed by a trip to Vernon on Oct. 4.
ENMU Rodeo draw and schedule: http://nebula.wsimg.com/0a814644a73a6f91e30834ff41dcb81e?AccessKeyId=74F232E83CADD3B9071D&disposition=0&alloworigin=1