POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River rodeo program will begin a new chapter on Thursday when the Wildcats trek to Marshall, Missouri for Day 1 of the Viking Stampede, hosted by Missouri Valley College.
Entering his first full year at the helm of the program, coach Frank Graves Jr. is anxious to see how his Wildcats perform when the lights are brightest.
"I think we have a good group of kids who will do well. We're practicing every night. We have good ropers and barrel racers. I think we're going to do well for our first group together," he said. "The kids are really excited and pumped up about getting to go to the first event.
The Wildcats compete in eight categories, comprised of bareback riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, barrel racing, goat tying, breakaway roping and bull riding.
Graves said he expects the 2020-21 Wildcats to be a well-rounded squad, which should pay off when it comes time to tally up the points.
"I think we'll have someone who's competitive in every event just about this year so we should be pretty good across the board," he said. "I hope we have some in the Top 10 in the short round on Saturday, that's our goal."
Graves listed several individuals as potential leaders during the early part of the 2020-21 campaign.
"I think our team ropers will be the most competitive group on our team. We have three teams this year, comprised of Koby Sanchez and Bryce Graves, Kason Davis and Preston Day, and Blake Lyons and Jeb Stewart," he said. "We also have three really good steer wrestlers in Pacey McBride, Wyatt Lepard and Kason Davis."
Graves also highlighted five breakaway ropers he believes have a chance to shine.
Following the Viking Stampede, PRCC has four more events this fall:
- West Alabama Rodeo, Sept. 24-26
- Three Rivers Rodeo, Oct. 15-17
- Southern Arkansas Rodeo, Oct. 29-31
- Murray State Rodeo, Nov. 19-21