AFS's Kynzie McNeill wins NIRA college rodeo barrel racing title in Wyoming
By: Norman Martin
A hard-riding senior from Texas Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences is the new 2018 National Barrel Racing Champion. Kynzie McNeill, an animal science major from Hobbs, New Mexico, put in blazing performances earlier this month at the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association's College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming.
She was the top-ranked barrel racer when the final night's competition began, and won the national championship by 18 one-hundredths of a second. During the final round, McNeill clocked a time of 14.09 seconds to clinch the title with a four-run time of 57.38.
"Kynzie Rae was so excited," said Interim Rodeo Coach Kipty Watt. "She's transferring to OSU [Oklahoma State University] to finish her grad program, so she finished her time here at Texas Tech with a bang." McNeill, a four-time National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association All-American, was competing in her third College National Finals Rodeo.
In other action, Texas Tech's Women's Rodeo Team ended the season as Reserve National Champions at the Casper championships, Watt said. The team included McNeill; Rainy Robinson, a junior communications studies major from Caldwell, Idaho; and Shelby Spielman, a junior agricultural communications major from Dalhart. While McNeill finished No. 1, Spielman finished third in the women's all-around race and 10th in the break-away roping race. Robinson came in 16th in the barrel racing title race.
Program officials note that the NIRA crowns individual event champions in saddle bronc riding, bare back 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.
More than 400 students from some 100 universities and colleges compete in Casper each year. Contestants compete all year in one of the NIRA's 11 regions for a chance to rope or ride at the College National Finals Rodeo.
CONTACT: Michael Orth, chairman, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-5653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0629NM18 / PHOTO: D Hubbell