LIVINGSTON, Ala. – Led by first-place individual finishes from Jaylie Matthews and Myles Neighbors, the East Mississippi Community College rodeo teams placed third and fourth in women's and men's team competition, respectively, this past weekend at the UWA College Rodeo Showdown. The three-day event concluded Saturday night at the Don C. Hines Rodeo Complex on the University of West Alabama campus.
Matthews, a freshman out of Wynne, Arkansas, earned all of EMCC's 180 total points in the women's competition by claiming the barrel racing title with winning times of 15.59 and 15.74 seconds. Matthews is currently ranked second in the barrel racing world standings of the International Professional Rodeo Association.
In posting their second straight third-place team finish to open the fall portion of the NIRA Ozark Region schedule, the EMCC women trailed first-place Missouri Valley College (330 points) and runner-up Southern Arkansas University (295) in the final standings of the UWA event.
Also for the East Mississippi women, sophomore Abbey Jo Kilgore (Jasper, AL) earned 70 individual points in barrel racing with a fourth-place overall finish that was keyed by a third-place effort of 16.11 seconds in the second round. EMCC freshman Mikayla Joh Almond (Olin, NC) collected 20 individual points in barrel racing and an additional 35 individual points in the breakaway roping competition with a 2.9-second effort in the opening round.
The University of Tennessee at Martin claimed the men's team competition with 810 total points. Missouri Valley and host West Alabama followed with 530 and 505 points, respectively. The EMCC men totaled 380 team points.
Highlighting the action for East Mississippi's rodeo program for the second straight week was Neighbors' continued domination of the steer wrestling event. Coming off his season-opening event title at Missouri Valley College, the Benton, Arkansas native again earned the maximum 180 points at UWA with winning runs of 5.1 and 5.6 seconds. The 2018 Jr. Ironman champion currently ranks fifth among the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association's steer wrestling standings with 360 total points.
EMCC's remaining 200 team points were earned during UWA's tie down roping competition. Freshman Sam Morgan (Davie, FL), the reserve all-around cowboy earlier this year at the National High School Finals Rodeo, earned 150 points with a second-place showing after winning the second round with a 9.5-second effort and finishing second in the average. Sophomore Weston Pender (Poplarville) collected the Lions' other 50 team points with a fifth-place finish in tie down roping.
Coach Morgan Goodrich's East Mississippi rodeo team will venture to Sikeston, Missouri this week to compete in Three Rivers College's Championship College Rodeo Thursday through Saturday (Oct. 3-5).