Four qualify at Ozark Regional competition for national rodeo finals

College National Rodeo FinalsMURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State University rodeo team concluded a successful year with a trip to the Ozark Regional competition that qualified four students for a trip to the College National Rodeo Finals (CNFR) June 15-21 in Casper, Wyo.

The CNFR, celebrating its 66th year, is where the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) crowns individual event champions in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying. National team championships are also awarded to both men’s and women’s teams. Over 400 cowboys and cowgirls from more than 100 universities and colleges compete each year. Contestants compete all year in the NIRA’s 11 regions for a chance to rope or ride in the national finals. The top three students in each event, and the top two men’s and women’s teams from the NIRA’s 11 regions qualify for the College National Rodeo Finals.

Students from Murray State University competing in the national finals are Kendal Gentry, Ellen Jarvis, Clayton Corbett and Caleb Little.

Gentry is a sophomore pre-vet student from Henderson, Ky. She finished second in barrel racing at the regional to make it into the finals. Her mount, Blue, was voted “Horse of the Year” by the Ozark Regional contestants.

Jarvis is also a sophomore pre-vet student. She is from Columbus, Ind., and finished third in breakaway calf roping for a trip to the finals.

Corbett, of Nashville, Tenn., finished third in the region in saddle bronc riding for his entry in the CNFR. He is a freshman agriculture student.

Agriculture graduate student Caleb Little placed third in steer wrestling to earn his trip to Casper. He is from Tuscola, Ill.

Head coach of the Murray State rodeo team, J.D. Van Hooser, was voted NIRA Ozark Region “Coach of the Year” by the other coaches in the region.

For information on the rodeo program at Murray State University, contact Van Hooser at

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