Thrasher announces UTM Rodeo participants for 75th Annual College National Finals Rodeo next month

 Thrasher announces UTM Rodeo participants for 75th Annual College National Finals Rodeo next month

(photo: UT Martin Sports)

UT Martin Rodeo head coach Chase Thrasher has set his lineup for the upcoming College National Finals Rodeo, which will once again take place at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper, Wyoming June 11-17.

The 2022-23 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association schedule officially ended this past weekend and the national standings were finalized Monday.

The Skyhawk men’s team completed the regular season ranked No. 7 nationally with 5,630 points. By placing second in the Ozark Region, the UT Martin cowboys automatically qualify for the opportunity to compete for a national championship – accomplishing that feat for the 48th time in the last 49 years.

Three members of the Skyhawk men’s squad and one UT Martin cowgirl finished in the top-three of their respective events in the Ozark Region, which punches their ticket for Casper. Jack Smithson won the saddle bronc riding event after accumulating 1,315 points – a number that ranked second nationally. Defending men’s all-around national champion Cole Walker placed second regionally in both tie down roping (540 points), team roping heeler (830 points, fourth nationally) and all-around (1,560 points, 12th nationally). Jesse Keysaer’s 470 points in steer wrestling were good enough to rank second in the region while Savannah Moran managed 445 points in barrel racing, coming in third place regionally as a true freshman.

The Skyhawk men’s team will also include Logan Neal (sixth in the Ozark Region with 390 points in steer wrestling) and Cannon Smith (eighth regionally with 295 points in steer wrestling, 15th with 110 points in team roping header).

The CNFR is where the NIRA crowns individual event champions in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying. National team championships are also awarded to both men’s and women’s teams.

The top two teams and best three participants from each event in the 11 regions gain automatic entry into the CNFR, which will feature 400-plus cowboys and cowgirls from over 100 universities and colleges across the NIRA ranks.