Wildcats post impressive effort at Arkansas rodeo

Chase Graves
(Photo courtesy of Pat Causey) PRCC rider Chase Graves of Poplarville ropes the back legs of a calf during the team roping event at the PRCC Rodeo last fall at Hattiesburg. The Wildcats are hosting the second annual event Sept. 13-15.

POPLARVILLE – The Pearl River Community College rodeo team overcame difficult conditions to have an impressive showing this past weekend at the Arkansas-Monticello event.

The Wildcat men finished third in the team standings with 600 points, including two first-place finishes and a second-place. The Wildcat women was fourth in their team event with 120 points, including a second-place finish.

"Despite the weather conditions being cold and wet, our Wildcats cowboyed up and got the job done," said PRCC coach Robby Shaw. "The determination of our kids really showed through. We set goals and try to meet them no matter the obstacle in front of us."

Sophomore Ryder Ladner (Kiln) was the big winner for PRCC, taking first in the calf roping event and teaming with freshman Chase Graves (Poplarville) to win the team roping competition.

Ladner had the best score in the first round of the calf roping, with a time of 8.4 seconds. His second run of 12.3 was third-best, but the combined score of 20.7 was the lowest total, earning him top points for the event with 160.

"Ryder was first out in the calf roping, which a lot of people don't like, because you don't get a chance to watch the calves run," said Shaw. "But it worked out in his favor. The arena was in good condition and the calf he drew was perfect."

Ladner and Graves were second after the first round in team roping, scoring 50 points each for a run of 6.8 seconds. They bettered that in the second run, scoring 5.4, and their combined total of 12.2 was best in the field, earning the pair a total of 340 points.

Freshman Scott Davis (Lucedale) came in second in the saddle bronc riding event as one of only three riders to stay in the saddle for his first run. He finished with 100 points.

Freshman Abbi Holliday (Poplarvllle) had her best effort of the season in the barrel racing event, overcoming the muddy track to finish second.

She was second in the first round with a score of 14.95, good for 50 points, then had the fourth-best run with a time of 14.84, worth 30 points. Her total of 29.79 was third-best overall, giving her 40 points, and pushing her points total of 120 into second place.

Last weekend's effort puts several Wildcat riders in position to qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo at Casper, Wyo., in June. The top three from each event, the top two All-Around Cowboys and the top two teams from each region qualify for the national finals.

The Wildcat men are currently in fourth place in the Ozark Region with 2,570 points and the women are sixth with 425.

Ladner is second in the men's all-around with 1,055 points, and Graves is fourth with 805. Davis is fourth in the saddle bronc standings, but he is just 35 points out of third place. Ladner is second in the calf roping event with 440 points, and he and Graves sit second in team roping, each with 480 points.

"We're only in our second season, and we once again have a chance to go to the national finals," said Shaw. "We could not do it without the moral and financial support of our sponsors, and we'd like to ask for their continued support."

Shaw said the Wildcats are already in planning for the second annual PRCC Rodeo, scheduled for Sept. 13-15 at the Lynn Cartiledge Multi-Purpose Center in Hattiesburg.