PRCC puts on good show hosting inaugural rodeo


Pearl River freshman Chase Graves of Poplarville secures the legs of a steer during team roping competition at the PRCC Rodeo held last week at Hattiesburg. Graves was second in team roping, along with sophomore Ryder Ladner of Kiln, and was also second in steer wrestling (Photo courtesy of Pat Causey)

POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College got the 2017-18 college rodeo season off to a rousing start this past weekend, hosting an event for the first time in the school’s short history in the sport.

The Wildcats had a respectable showing, and put on a good show at the inaugural PRCC Rodeo at the James Lynn Cartlidge Multi-Purpose building in Hattiesburg.

“It went real well,” said Pearl River rodeo coach/advisor Robbie Shaw. “It took us three nights to really get it right, but (Saturday) was our best night. We got the show done in two-and-a-half hours, which about as good as you can expect, especially for our first time.”

The PRCC event was the first of 10 rodeos scheduled for the Ozark Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, the sanctioning body for college rodeo, and the Wildcats stepped up on short notice.

“This has been spectacular,” said Sasha Nelson, NIRA secretary for the Ozark Region. “Mr. Shaw and his kids have done a great job of getting everything set up.

“We needed another rodeo to fill the season schedule, and (PRCC) volunteered. (Shaw) stepped up and put on a really good rodeo for us. We’re excited about coming back.”

Teams from nine of the 13 schools in the region, along with individual competitors from other schools, took part in the rodeo, which covered three nights.

The Wildcats finished fourth of six teams in the men’s events with 355 points, and fifth of nine teams in the women’s events with 120 points.

“Overall, not bad, not bad at all,” Shaw said. “I was proud of our kids, not only for how they competed, but for how they helped make this event a success. We had a little rough start on Thursday, but we had a meeting on Friday and everything came together.”

Freshman Chase Graves of Poplarville was the top point-producer for PRCC with 220 points.

Graves finished second in the championship round in steer wrestling, with an 8.5 average for his two runs, and was third in total points for the event with 95.

He and sophomore Ryder Ladner (Kiln) finished second in team roping, both in the championship round and in total points, as they were one of only two teams in the 10-team finals to complete a successful run.

Ladner and Graves each scored 50 points for the finals and 130 total in the team-roping event.

“I drew a good steer, so I knew I was going to have a good run,” said Graves. “The steers (in team roping) were a little soggy; they were a little slow.

“It felt good to be able to go home each night. It was a lot of work, and we had a few kinks, but we got by them and it turned out good. I think this will be one of the better rodeos on the circuit.”

Pearl River sophomore Chelsey Johnson of Poplarville lassos a calf during the breakaway roping event at the PRCC Rodeo at Hattiesburg. Johnson scored a fourth-place finish in the event. (Photo courtesy of Pat Causey)

Sophomore Chelsey Johnson was the lone point-scorer for PRCC in the women’s standings, based on her scores in the preliminaries.

She was second in breakaway roping after the first round, with 50 points, and she also got 30 points for a fourth-place ranking as the second-best preliminary scorer of the non-finishers in the finals. And she earned 40 points for standing third in goat tying after the first round.

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