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WC Rodeo starts New Season with Mixer

If it seems like not that long since Weatherford College was competing in rodeo. It wasn’t. But then, that’s what happens when you send competitors to the College National Finals Rodeo for 13 consecutive seasons.

In June then freshmen, now sophomores, Brogan Macy and Garrett Jacobs kept the streak alive for WC when they competed in the CNFR.

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Leighton Berry, 2017 Colt Bruce Scholarship recipient       Marki Bruce, 2017 Mike Brown Scholarship recipient









Sunday, the 2017-18 season officially got under way with a meet-and-greet for the WC Rodeo Team at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Clubhouse. Visitors had a chance to mingle with returning competitors along with a host of newcomers.

“It’s going to be an awesome rodeo season,” WC Interim President Brent Baker said in remarks to kick off the event. “A lot of people don’t realize the commitment, the sweat, the guts it takes to be a college athlete, much less a college rodeo athlete.

“I don’t know anybody who puts in more miles than you guys. Thank you for representing us.”

Baker added, “You’re lucky to have a guy like Johnny Emmons as coach.”

Emmons was recognized through a video presentation that showed highlights from his career, which includes qualifying as a roper for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo five times (1989, 1998, 2001-03) and more than $800,000 in winnings. He is a member of the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and was named the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coach of the Year in 2014.

“He should win it every year,” former WC national qualifier Casey Tew told the crowd.

Two-time national roping champion and former Coyote Cole Wheeler told the athletes to, “stick to it. I just stuck to what got me here. This is a good school. You actually have to work here and go to class. Have fun and see how fast it goes.”

Wheeler won a national title in 2016 at Weatherford College, followed by another this past season at Texas Tech.

Dr. Andra Cantrell, Executive Vice President for Financial and Administrative Affairs, addressed the crowd and acknowledged former Rodeo Coach Mike Brown, who retired in 2012 and passed away in 2015.

“Mike was instrumental in bringing [the program] to where it is today,” she said, followed by telling the athletes, “I hope this is the greatest year you’ve ever had in your life.”

To which Tew, the only three-time CNFR qualifier from WC added, “Mike, he set it up good. We miss him a lot.”

Brown’s family was in attendance as the Mike Brown Memorial Scholarship was presented to sophomores Marki Cleveland from Iowa Park and Jhett Jackson from Quitman. Also, the family of Colt Bruce was on hand for the presentation of the Colt Bruce Memorial Scholarship to freshman Leighton Berry of Weatherford.

Bruce was a 2010 Aledo High graduate and bareback competitor on the Tarleton State University team when he lost his life in an accident with a drunk driver in December of 2014. He was 23 years old.

Emmons referenced generations of competitors from WC who have reached the CNFR, including three members of the Tew family (2007 national champion Cody, 2011 qualifier Cadee, 2014-16 qualifier Casey) and the Macys (2014-15 qualifier Aaron, 2017 qualifier Brogan).

“In my opinion, it’s probably the second best rodeo in the world,” Emmons said.

Emmons then noted that although there are no younger brothers or sisters in the Tew family to come to WC that he hasn’t given up hope on the family’s tradition continuing at the school.

“Maybe your kids,” he said with a chuckle to Casey.

WC Rodeo Booster Club President Jim Hook stressed to the athletes that his group’s goal is be there for them as best as they can, whether it’s to provide scholarships or help in other ways. He also said the building of a new arena continues to be a goal of the club.

“Whatever it takes to bring the qualify of students we have now and will continue to have,” Hook said.

Along with 13 straight years qualifying for CNFR, including the entire men’s team in 2014, WC has had competitors win Southwest Region championships 17 times since 2006 and has three national champions since 2007.

Along with Wheeler and Tew, Arena Robertson won the Women’s All-Around and Reserve Team Roping in 2008.

WC has also had 10 former Coyotes qualify 15 times for the WNFR, including Will Gasperson, Ryan Motes, Timber Moore, Clayton Hass, Reese Reimer, Clif Cooper, Jordon Peterson, Randall Carlisle, Brandon Beers and Dan Webb.

The Coyotes open the season Sept. 14-16 at the Eastern New Mexico University Rodeo in Portales, New Mexico.

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2017-18 WC Rodeo Team / Select above to view a larger image.

by Rick Mauch