The Odessa College Rodeo team had 11 competitors qualify for Saturday’s short-go in the final performance of the 33rd annual Odessa College Wrangler Rodeo.
There’s no common denominator between them other than that they’ve earned their spot under the lights at Ector County Coliseum through their hard work. They’ve trained for several months to perform and execute their discipline in a short amount of time.
“We try to get them in a routine and keep them in that routine,” Wranglers head coach CJ Aragon said about preparing for the short-go. “They’re going to do the same thing that they do in the practice pen here, they just have a lot more people watching here. They’ve worked hard and made it a good rodeo.
Up first was bareback riding — which featured three Odessa College competitors. Austin Williams, of Marsing, Idaho, was the first to take to the dirt and finished with an unofficial score of 141.
Danten Metzger, from Carbon, Alberta Canada, came into the event in tied for second place with a score of 74 and drew what he felt would be in the winning horse in “Tijuana Taxi.”
His dad flew to Odessa from Canada to watch him compete and his girlfriend drove for five hours to do the same.
“I always make sure to keep my head clear of other things and just focus on the ride,” Metzger said. “I have to do my job and (the horse) will do his job and well be victorious in the end.”
Tijuana Taxi bucked higher than any other horse in the event, causing Metzger to fall off him in around five seconds.
BoDell Jessen opted for a re-ride in the event 55 minutes after his original run and unofficially scored a 143, earning fifth place.
In the second event, Clayton Huffman of West Texas A&M won tiedown roping with an unofficial total time of 19 seconds.
Breakaway roping was up next — featuring Odessa College’s Cassidy Clark of Thorsby, Alberta, Canada.
Clark qualified in second place with a time of 2.6 seconds and noted before her run that she had a similar calf to her run during Thursday’s first performance.
Those are faster calves that run straight down the dirt — giving Clark a short window to get the rope around its horns.
“CJ recruited me for a reason. I’m here because I worked my butt off for it and I feel 100 percent confident that I have just as much of a chance as the other nine girls do,” Clark said. “I’m super pumped up and I’m very excited to rope in a short-go.”
In Clark’s first collegiate short-go, she roped the calf unofficially in 3.1 seconds — earning a tie for first place in the event with an overall time of 5.7 seconds with Tarleton State University’s Rylea Fabrizio.
In saddle bronc riding, Odessa College’s SamRay Hooper, an Andrews native, rode the biggest horse of the night aptly named “John Wayne.” That horse lived up to his name and bucked Hooper off in a little more than a second.
That event was won by Lane Wimberly of Western Texas College with a score of 155.
Steer wrestling featured four Wrangler competitors. Eric Logan of Yampa, Colo. kicked off the event and got a no score. The next three Odessa College wrestlers unofficially finished second through fourth in the event with times between 10.8 and 19 seconds.
They all finished behind Western Texas College’s Kodie Jang — who finished with an unofficial time of 9.3 seconds.
“If anything, the stage they’re on tonight, being in front of a good crowd in the coliseum in the short round is preparing them for the future,” Aragon said about his team’s performance. “They’re doing well this year. For the future of the program, we’ve got a lot of talented kids here.”
Odessa College had two more competitors go the rest of the night — Permian High School graduate Chance Price —who was paired with Weatherford College’s Gage Davis in the team roping and the duo couldn’t get both ropes around the steer.
Maddy Dickens of Loveland, Colo. finished off the night for the Wranglers with a combined unofficial barrel racing time of 30.2 seconds.