The Hill College men’s and women’s rodeo teams will hit the road for their third rodeo of the fall season this weekend at Northeast Texas Community College in Mount Pleasant.
Performances at the Panola College rodeo in September and the Southwest Texas Junior College rodeo earlier this month earned the teams a current overall ranking of fifth (men’s team) and seventh (women’s team) in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southern Region.
“After two events, the Hill College men’s team needs to pick up momentum,” rodeo coach and athletic director Paul Brown said. “We have a few athletes sitting good in their respective events, but as a team, we are better than what we have shown. Our team members just need to not make little mistakes and draw good livestock. This is a really good team and should be fine at the end of the year.”
Several Hill College cowboys are showing signs of promise with current regional and national rankings. Sophomore Jarrod Hammons and freshman Cutter Kaylor are holding steady in their events with Hammons currently ranked second in saddle bronc riding and Kaylor ranked third in bull riding. Nationally, Hammons holds the No. 15 spot and Kaylor is ranked No. 22.
Freshmen Max Mathis and JB Collins are ranked fifth and sixth in the region, respectively, in tie down roping. Team ropers sophomore Chance Littleben and freshman Todd Sells are ranked fourth, and freshmen Cole Walker and Alden Dauer are ranked twelfth in steer wrestling.
“Jarrod Hammons is leading the team in points sitting a close second in the region title race, and he is a real contender for a national championship,” Brown said. “Max and JB have started the year off good in calf roping. Cutter is coming off injuries, but he should be a real threat this year. I expect several of these plus a couple of other athletes to really come around this year. Of these top athletes, Jarrod is the only returning team member.”
Freshman cowgirl Ainslee Morris is ranked fourth in breakaway roping and 11th in goat tying in the region. Sophomores Fallon Hanson and Jordi Edens are both ranked 13th in breakaway roping.
“Newcomer Ainslee Morris had a great second rodeo winning second in a tough breakaway and placing in goat tying, as well as winning the reserve all-around title for the [Southwest Texas Junior College] rodeo,” Brown said.
Edens and sophomore Brighton Bauman return to the women’s team after both barely missing qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo last year in the breakaway roping finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the region. Brown said he also expects freshmen Jessi Harris and Kalli McCall to make significant contributions to the women’s team this year.
“Jessi, whose parents both rodeoed for Hill College and her dad was my assistant for several years, is a real contender in the barrel race,” Brown said. “She lost her good horse this summer after qualifying for the NHSRA finals and is trying to get with a new horse. Kalli dominated her high school region last year in the barrels and should help us out as a two-event cowgirl.
“I am super excited to see how this year ends up. We have a lot of really good kids that are working hard at collegiate rodeo. It’s going to be a fun year.”
Last year, the women’s team finished sixth in the Southern Region. The men’s team finished as reserve regional champions and sent six team members to the CNFR. The men’s team ended their try at finals ranked No. 32 in the nation.
Hill College also has seven former athletes who will compete in the 2021 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas beginning Dec. 2. Three first-year qualifiers include heeler Ross Ashford in team roping, bareback rider Zach Hibler and calf roper John Douch. Other former athletes to watch at the NFR are steer roper Cody Lee and calf ropers Shane Hanche, Marty Yates and Cory Solomon.
For information about the rodeo team, visit hillcollege.edu/Athletics/Rodeo/Rodeo.html or follow Hill College Athletics on Facebook.
Hill College 2021 Fall Rodeo Schedule
Oct. 15-16at Northeast Texas Community College
Oct. 29-30at McNeese State University
Nov. 11-13at Sam Houston State University
• Sophomore Brayden Bruton of Grandview, breakaway roping
• Freshman Sterling Bryant of Cleburne, team roping
• Freshman Cade Fedor of Grandview, steer wrestling
• Sophomore Cooper Mathews of Cleburne, calf roping
• Sophomore Brice Meyers of Grandview, calf roping
• Freshman Sarah Scott of Cleburne, barrel racing