RODEO: Short go provides lessons for Odessa College rodeo team

The 38th annual Odessa College NIRA rodeo came to a close Saturday at the Ector County Coliseum.

Competitors from multiple colleges and universities had the chance to spruce up their skills as the second half of their seasons kicks into its most important stages.

Sul Ross State came away with the men’s team championship, while Tarleton State and Texas Tech tied for the women’s team title.

Tarleton State’s Maddy Deerman won the women’s all-around competition and Sul Ross State’s Tristan Hutchings secured the men’s all-around title.

Although the Odessa College rodeo team didn’t come away with team crowns, it had some individuals put up strong performances in the short round of their respective events.

Dennis Ribordy took third in bull riding, even after missing the qualifying number in his second go.

His long round 83 was good enough to see him come away with $532.80.

“Everything was working pretty smoothly, before I got on I was just talking to the buddies,” Ribordy said. “They said, ‘Just try your heart out.’

“So that’s what I did.”

The Wranglers were also represented well in the saddle bronc competition, where Tate Kelly and Ridge Ward placed sixth and seventh.

Ward tied for the fourth-highest qualifying number with a 78 in the short round.

He was edged out by Kelly, who recorded a 74 in his first go.

When Ward finished his second performance, he came off his bronc hobbled and ended the night on crutches.

“After we’re all done taking down here, I’m just going to go do some rehab and just get my ankle to where it was,” Ward said.

Both Ward and Kelly motivated each other through their showings as teammates and competitors.

The duo competes in as many rodeos as they can together, giving them time to get acclimated with what they’ll bring to their event.

Kelly said getting strong results through the second half of the campaign is a strong point of emphasis for the Wranglers, as they are trying to reach the College National Finals Rodeo.

Odessa College had seven competitors reach the short round of this year’s rodeo, which Ward saw as a positive sign.

“This is the most people we’ve had in the short go this college rodeo season,” Ward said. “It was pretty good.”

The Odessa College rodeo team will continue its campaign at the Ranger College Rodeo from Mar. 24-26 in Sweetwater.

>> Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter at @OA_CAmaya