LEVELLAND — Competing in arguably the toughest region in the country, the South Plains College women's rodeo team finds itself atop the Southwest Region team standings after three rodeos following a first-place finish last weekend at the Clarendon College Rodeo.
The Lady Texans have been consistent in their first three outings, placing second overall in their first two rodeos of the year at Sul Ross State and Vernon College, before capturing the team title for the first time this season a week ago. Emery Mask and Madison Rice have anchored the Lady Texans through three weeks, each sitting atop the region standings in their respective events.
Mask, a freshman from Amarillo, has placed second overall in barrel racing the last two weeks after earning a fourth-place finish in her first collegiate rodeo on Sept. 27 in Alpine. Mask has tallied 395 points on the year, holding a 55 point lead over Texas Tech's Bristan Kennedy who is second in the region with 340 points. Mask will look to increase her lead when South Plains College competes at the Texas Tech University Rodeo Oct. 29-31 in Lubbock.
"My horse is phenomenal, and I just try to take care of him the best I can to make sure he can perform at his full potential," Mask said. "Personally, I have gained a lot of confidence in myself knowing I have a horse that's going to allow me to compete with just about anyone out there. It's exciting we're going to get to compete in Lubbock, and my family is going to be down there cheering for me which will be great. The riding part of this sport is easy, it's the mental aspect and trying to make sure you stay calm and as relaxed as possible that's the biggest challenge."
The Lady Texans also hold the top spot in breakaway roping, as freshman Madison Rice leads the Southwest Region with 195 points. Rice turned in a second-place finish in her first outing for the Lady Texans in Alpine, racking up 115 points to begin the year. Rice would add another 80 points to her season total in Clarendon, placing sixth overall to give her the region lead heading into Lubbock.
"We all go out there every day with the intent to work hard and get better each day," Rice said. "If I can go into practice and get one percent better, it's better than I was the day before. Coach Doster recently sent me a quote that said it is hard to get to the top, but it is even harder to stay there, and he is absolutely right."
Southwest Region standings: http://www.collegerodeo.com/standings/2014-2015-southwest-region-standings/
2020 Texas Tech University Rodeo information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/texas-tech-71st-annual-intercollegiate-rodeo-tickets-123359219747