Texas Tech qualified by winning the Southwest Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
Thanks to four team victories and numerous individual championships throughout the season, the Texas Tech University women's rodeo team captured the Southwest Region title to earn a berth at the Collegiate National Finals Rodeo beginning Saturday (June 11) in Casper, Wyoming.
Texas Tech won thanks to the accumulation of 2,542 points from the 10 rodeo competitions in the Southwest Region, easily outdistancing second-place Tarleton State University's 1,466 points. A total of 16 colleges and universities compete in the Southwest Region, which is considered the premier region for collegiate rodeo.
“This season has been an absolute blessing with both of our teams,” Texas Tech rodeo coach Brent Hodges said. “We talked about goals at the beginning of the season and the ladies just knocked it out. To be in my first year as coach and have this opportunity is something I knew could happen with this group, and along with the other ladies and men's team members, they put in a lot of hours and work, challenged and supported each other and finished well.”
This will be the eighth appearance in the College National Finals Rodeo for the Texas Tech women's team, which won the national title in 2012.
The Texas Tech women's rodeo team, part of the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, earned first place at the Frank Phillips College Rodeo, the Texas Tech Rodeo, the Howard College Rodeo and the Tarleton State Rodeo while finishing second at Eastern New Mexico and Sul Ross State. Texas Tech finished in the top five in all 10 rodeos, and three different competitors took all-around cowgirl honors at six of the 10 regional rodeos.
Kellie Collier, a sophomore from Hereford, was named the Southwest Region All-Around Cowgirl as well as champion barrel racer, and her ride earned Horse of the Year. She also was the Southwest Region fifth-place breakaway roper and is the 16th-ranked barrel racer in the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association world standings.
Kynzie Rae McNeill, a sophomore from Hobbs, New Mexico, was named the Southwest Region Reserve All-Around Cowgirl and finished seventh in barrel racing and goat tying and 15th in breakaway roping.
Jessica Dunbar, a sophomore from Del Rio, finished fourth in the Southwest Region in barrel racing. Tamara Tunink, a senior from Fowler, Colorado, finished ninth in the Southwest Region in breakaway roping.
For more information on the Texas Tech women's and men's rodeo teams, visit its website.