SANDHILLS STOCK SHOW AND RODEO: McCown comes through on Thursday night

Parker Cole McCown didn’t quite know how he did it but sometimes luck just works in mysterious ways.
The bull rider came through in a clutch at Thursday night’s SandHills Stock Show and Rodeo at the Ector County Coliseum.
Being the last to compete in his category to start the night, McCown finished with a score of 88 to finish at the top of the group.
“On that first jump, he about bucked me off,” McCown said. “I don’t know how I was able to stay on. I was able to somehow hang on.”
McCown, who attends Hill College and competes on the Rebel rodeo team, has been competing for five years now.
He’s coming off from his last performance in the Texas Circuit Finals in Waco last week.
While Thursday night was his first rodeo in Odessa, it’s already one of his favorite places to compete.
“It’s better than the ones where I’ve been bucked off in,” McCown said.
He was also excited to leave the competition in one piece.
“I just thank god and am blessed to have a good ride,” McCown said. “I’m also glad to be walking out of the arena, the same way I’ve walked in.”
He’ll next be competing in West Monroe, La. this Saturday.
Coming in second in that category was Scottie Knapp with a score of 84 while Garrett Wickett had a 78.
Elijah Mora, a Wiggins, Col. Native, finished with a score of 77 for the night.
For Mora, Thursday’s rodeo was the first that he was competing in over a three-day stretch.
“I’m out here for my first stop for the weekend,” Mora said. “We go out to Des Moines on Friday and then Toledo on Saturday.”
It was Mora’s second time competing in Odessa, but he hopes to be competing in Las Vegas, Nev. by the end of the year.
“It’ll take a strong will to get there,” Mora said. “It’ll take hard work and I have to keep going. For me, it’s just the mentality. I just want to be the best that I can be.”
For bronc rider Cody Martin of Eagle, Col., the lure of the SandHills Rodeo brought him to the Permian Basin to compete.
“It’s one of the biggest rodeos of the year and it’s a great stop,” Martin said. “There’s a good amount of money here. It’s a great way to start the year. I’m glad to be here.”
Martin, who’s been competing professionally since 2000, has been to the SandHills Rodeo numerous times.
“For me, I’ve been here a bunch of times,” Martin said. “There a lot of good guys here. It’s a great way for me to start the year. I’ve sat out the last two years trying to raise my two-year old son. This year, I was able to sneak away and come back to Odessa.”
He’s had a few injuries over the years that have slowed him down but haven’t stopped him.
“My rookie year was in 2000. It’s been a long time,” Martin said. “I’ve had a few injuries that have slowed me down over the years but I’ve been pretty steady.”
He’s been riding ever since he was a teenager.
“I was 13 when I got on my very first bronco,” Martin said. “It was a great experience for me. I’ve been able to make this my life.”
For Martin, Thursday night was the first rodeo that he’s competed in since October.
It didn’t quite go the way Martin hoped, finishing with a score of zero. He’ll be back competing at the Denver, Colo. Stock Show on Jan. 19.
He’s competed twice in Las Vega in 2003 and in 2006. He hopes to be back there someday.
“It’s always the hope,” Martin said. “It just takes starting off the year right. If I’m healthy then I’ll see what I can do.”
While he’s competed in bull riding and bareback riding over the years, he’s always enjoyed competing in the saddle bronc competition the most.
“In bronc riding, you’re not tied down to anything,” Martin said. “In bull riding you’re tied down. In bronc riding, you’re just competing in a good old fashion competition.”
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