By Thomas Garcia: QCS staff writer
Strong performances from the men’s and women’s rodeo teams at Mesalands Community College earned them a fourth-place finish at the Second Annual Mesalands Intercollegiate Rodeo last weekend.
“We could have done better as a team,” said C.J. Aragon, Mesaland’s rodeo coach. “We had some good individual performances.”
Aragon said several of the team members took high placing. He said Chris Heck placed first in bull riding, and several other rodeo students placed in the top five of their events.
“We just need to keep working on our team points and standings,” Aragon said. “These students are great contestants and did well under pressure.”
Aragon said having the home crowd to support the team means a great deal.
This year the rodeo conflicted with the Tucumcari Rattlers football homecoming.
Aragon said he knew the crowd might be thinner on Friday but expected it to pick right back up on Saturday. He said the community has shown increasing support toward the program and the students over the years.
“When we travel to rodeos we always see the home team getting the support and cheers,” Aragon said. “It helped a lot of these first-time college riders get over their nervousness.”
One of those competing for the first time for Mesalands was freshman Cody Miller. Miller placed fourth in the bareback riding event.
“I was good placing fourth, better than nothing I suppose,” Miller said. “I am going to keep working hard and try to take first in the event.”
In the past bare back riding has been a weak point of the program at Mesalands, Aragon said.
“It was our weakest area last year,” Aragon said. “But it could turn out to be our strongest event yet.”
The Mesalands team will compete next on Friday and Saturday at Cochise College, at Douglas, Ariz.
Men’s top four teams
1.Central Arizona College 580 points
1.Northland Pioneer College, 580
3. New Mexico State University, 370
4. Mesalands, 305
Women’s top four teams
1. Arizona, 470 points
2. Cochise College, 210
3. NMSU, 170
4. Mesalands, 140