Texas Tech Rodeo Team duo takes national team roping title in Wyoming
By: Norman Martin
A pair of repeat team roping titlists from Texas Tech earned national championship honors at the 69th annual College National Finals Rodeo last month at the Casper Events Center in Wyoming.
Team ropers Cole Wheeler, a junior general studies major from Flint, and Wesley Thorp, a junior general studies major from Stephenville, were the only repeat champions, winning their second straight title, but their first for Texas Tech. Last year they represented Weatherford College (Wheeler) and Ranger College (Thorp).
"We both were very excited to accomplish what we did at Casper," Wheeler said. "We won it the year before, but I believe it was more special this time because we proved last year was not just dumb luck. We both agreed we did not have as many nerves as we did last year. I'm sure the experience from the previous year helped with that."
Not only did Wheeler and Thorp win the team roping title, they dominated the event, amassing 260 points, 80 points ahead of second-place Ross Mitchell from the University of Tennessee-Martin and Ethan Wheeler from East Mississippi State Community College.
Wheeler and Thorp posted times of 6.1, 6.8 and 6.4 seconds, respectively in the first three go-rounds, then hit 5.9 seconds in the short go for an average of 25.2.
"Cole and Wesley earned their national championship," said first-year rodeo coach Stetson Corman. "They're two dedicated competitors, who know how to win and prove themselves inside and outside of the arena."
As a team, Texas Tech finished sixth overall in the College National Finals Rodeo with 520 points. Panhandle State won the team competition with 827.5 points.
"With a great fall semester and a solid College National Finals Rodeo, we have set the standard for Texas Tech Rodeo," Corman said. "We will build on our recent success and take strides to becoming a powerhouse for college rodeo."
With their win, Wheeler and Thorp have set the bar for future Texas Tech rodeo teams to match. "We both love college rodeo, and representing Texas Tech was a dream come true," Wheeler said.
Additional reporting by George Watson
CONTACT: Michael Orth, chairman, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-5653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Editor: Norman Martin
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