LEVELLAND — The South Plains College men's and women's rodeo teams will make their season debut on Thursday when they travel to Portales, N.M. for the Eastern New Mexico University Rodeo Sept. 19-21 at the Lewis Cooper Rodeo Arena.
Qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo a year ago following a second place team finish in the Southwest Region, the Lady Texans enter the year as the four-time defending Western Junior Junior College Athletic Conference Champions and have five of the last six conference titles under head coach Kerry Doster.
Sophomore Kaytlyn Miller returns for the Lady Texans after a stellar freshman stint which saw the Dammeron, Utah native earn a ninth place national finish in goat tying at the College National Finals, leading the Lady Texans to a 14th place national finish on the year, totaling 172.5 points at the CNFR.
"We do have a good number of kids coming back, and they know what they're getting into the first week and know the level they're going to have to compete at to get back to the college finals," Doster said. "On the women's side, we get Kaytlyn Miller and Elle eagles back, two girls who did very well last year. They were both at the college finals last year and know what it takes to get back there."
The Texans also bring back a veteran group including Hayden and Hayden Cloward, as well as Grady Quam and Stefan Ramone. Hayden Cloward finished 15th nationally in team roping a year ago at the College National Finals, while Quam placed 32nd in team roping and Hadley Cloward placed 34th overall.
"Hayden and Hadley Cloward are coming back, as well as Stefan Ramone and Grady Quam who won the region for us last year," Doster said. "We brought in a bulldogger from Canada, Clay Guthrie, and we put him on the points team this week and should be near the top this weekend. We feel pretty confident across the board with our men's team, and if we can stay healthy this season we should be alright."
South Plains will follow up this weekend's rodeo with a trip to Alpine for the Sul Ross State University Rodeo Sept. 26-28, followed by a trip to Vernon Oct. 3-5.