LEVELLAND - The South Plains College rodeo teams look to take their first steps at returning to national prominence this year when they begin their season at the Eastern New Mexico University rodeo Sept. 20-22 in Portales, N.M.
Fans can expect a new look from the men's team as third-year head coach Kerry Doster has added several roughstock athletes to his roster.
Doster said the roughstock competition is essential if the men's team is going to be competitive within the Southwest Region and he is looking to newcomers Colt Cleavinger and Kylar Cator to make some noise on the bulls and Dylan Wahlert and Kyle Sutherland to score points in bareback riding.
"I expect a lot out of them this weekend," Doster said.
In addition to the added depth in the roughstock events, the SPC men also return Ty Willick and Blake Gagnon from last year's team. Both were very competitive in the steer wrestling standings last year and Gagnon spent some time near the top of the calf roping standings as well.
With the talent on this year's men's team, Doster has plenty of reason for optimism.
"If all those guys fire on the same cylinder on the same weekend we should be able to compete well."
Doster also has a strong contingent of women returning. Though he has only eight women on this year's Lady Texan roster, five are sophomores who have the experience of competing on last year's squad.
"I have a good set of sophomores who are returning," Doster said of his women's team. "I only brought three (new) girls in this year and that gives me eight total and I've got a lot of talent there. They are all multi-event girls and I expect a lot out of them."
The rodeo teams will compete in five fall rodeos and then five more in the spring before completing the regular season. The top three individuals and top two teams at the end of the season will advance to the College National Finals Rodeo held annually in Casper, Wyo. and set for June 9-15, 2013 at the Casper Events Center.
With a good start in Portales and consistency throughout the season the rodeo teams can put themselves in prime position to advance in June.