This season both the men and women Sam Houston State University rodeo teams are highly ranked in the southern region. There has been a huge improvement this season from last year, and both teams are expected to make it to nationals.
The SHSU Rodeo Club is one of the oldest organizations on campus. Team members practice daily at Gibbs Ranch, an agriculture research ranch one mile north of the city of Huntsville.
The Bearkats men’s rodeo team is currently ranked third in the southern region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) with a total of 1,392.00 points. They trail behind first place Panola College with 2,690.50 points and second place Hill College with 2,093.50 points.
The Bearkats women’s rodeo team is currently second in the NIRA southern region with 860.66 points, only trailing fellow Southland Conference McNeese State University with 1,357.50 points.
Along with these high standings to this season, Sam Houston has a number of individual leaders in numerous categories.
In saddle bronc riding, Cale Newman is ranked third overall with 229 points.
Lane McGehee ranks third as well in the bareback riding category. Sam Houston also has two other competitors who rank in the top 10 spots of this category.
Christopher Villanueva highlights individual competition achievements ranking first in the bull riding category with a total point score of 255.5.
Harley Perkins also ranks first in the barrel racing category with 290 points.
Hannah Phillips joins fellow Bearkats as being first in individual categories as they are ranked first in breakaway roping with 440 points, 200 points more than the second-place competitor.
On top of the incredible start to their season, Gibbs Ranch will also be getting a $13.5 million upgrade. The upgrades will help not only the rodeo team but will also help the agricultural department at Sam Houston.
The Bearkats will compete next at Texas A&M University the weekend of March 12-13 in Bryan, Texas. Their final competition will take place at Trinity Valley Community College on May 7-8 in Athens, Texas, before heading to the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR).
The CNFR will take place during June in Wyoming, and will have events that include goat tying, steer wrestling, tie-down, bull riding and other team rodeo events.