PRCC Wildcats qualify two for national finals rodeo

POPLARVILLE – For a program in only its second season of competition in college rodeo, Pearl River Community College has made a pretty big impression.

For the second consecutive year, the Wildcats will be represented at the College National Finals Rodeo, and this year they will have two competitors going to national finals.

Sophomore Ryder Ladner (Kiln) and freshman Chase Graves (Poplarville) will be headed to Casper, Wyo. in June for the national finals.

PRCC sophomore Ryder Ladner (left) and freshman Chase Graves (left) show off the commemorative buckles they earned for qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo in June at Casper, Wyo.

Photo by PRCC Sports Information

“I’m very proud of both of them,” said PRCC coach Robbie Shaw. “Ryder was my pick to go last year, but he had a tough year. This year, he stepped it up when the time came.

“Chase, of course, is not a strange to winning at this level, and going to places like this. He’s done extremely well.”

The Wildcats as a team finished fourth on the men’s side and sixth on the women’s side in the Ozark Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. The men totaled 3,020 points for the nine-event season, and the women finished with 545 points. That performance, in the program’s second season of college competition, earned Shaw the selection as Coach of the Year in the Ozark Region.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be chosen Coach of the Year,” said Shaw. “It’s something that’s voted on by all of the coaches in the region, so to be recognized amongst all the great coaches we have in our region is very humbling.”

Ladner was second in the point standings for Men’s All-Around Cowboy, with 1,335 points. He will compete in the calf roping event in Wyoming, and he and Graves will both ride together in the team roping event.

Ladner was second in the team roping header category with 595 points, and Graves was third in the team roping heeler category, also with 595 points.

“They had a rough start in the fall season, but came back and showed everyone that you can’t count them out,” said Shaw. “The spring season hasn’t been easy on any of us, but they’ve overcome every obstacle that’s been put in front of them.”

Although they did not qualify for the national event, several other Wildcats had fine seasons as well.

Freshman Scott Davis (Lucedale) was fifth in the region in saddle bronc riding. Freshman Tyler Stewart (Brandon) was sixth in bareback riding. Ladner was seventh and Graves was eighth in steer wrestling. Freshman Abbi Holliday (Poplarville) was seventh in barrel racing, sophomore Chelsey Johnson (Poplarville was 12th in goat tying and 20th in breakaway roping.

“This isn’t an easy sport, but these kids have shown a great attitude, and have represented Pearl River Community College well,” said Shaw.

Shaw said the Wildcats are already in planning for the second annual PRCC Rodeo, scheduled for Sept. 13-15 at the Lynn Cartlidge Multi-Purpose Center in Hattiesburg.

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