Rodeo Team wins national title


Panola College wins national title!

The Panola College men’s rodeo team won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association National Championship in June in Casper, Wyoming, with freshman Daylon Swearingen, of Pifford, New York, taking home the top award in bull riding.

Panola College rodeo team members included: Swearingen, bull riding; Tyler Johnson, Athens, bareback; Macon Murphy, Keatchie, Louisiana, tie-down; Logan Cook, Alto, saddle bronc; Clayton Lowery, Wills Point, team roping; and Ross Freeman, Kountze, bull riding.

The team, which also won the Southern Region, was well represented in the events.

Swearingen was fifth in the Southern Region and also took home the honor of the men’s rookie of the year and the NIRA Alumni Award of rookie of the year in bull riding.

Johnson, a sophomore and Southern Region bareback champion, finished as the reserve champion in the bareback.

Cook, the Southern Region’s all around champion, qualified in saddle bronc and tie down. In his third year in a row to qualify for the CNFR, Cook placed 10th in the saddle bronc. Coming into the finals, Cook was sitting second in the nation. Then he had a tough go in the tie down and finished 29th.

Freshman Murphy qualified for the CNFR after finishing third in the Southern Region. Murphy had trouble in the first two rounds, but showed out in the third round as he won the round with a quick 7.7-second roping, which was the fastest time of the entire rodeo.

Murphy was honored by the alumni for the tiedown rookie of the year award.

Team roper Lowery and his partner, Kasen McCall from Stephen F. Austin University, finished fourth in the Southern Region and were selected by coach Jeff Collins to be part of the team to represent Panola College.

The pair qualified for the finals in the eighth spot and ended up 12th after missing in the finals.

Team member Ross Freeman, a sophomore, placed fourth in the Southern Region. Freeman qualified for the finals in the 11th spot after only riding one bull in the first three rounds.

“The team is made up of six incredible young men,” Collins said. “I know exactly what type of effort and will that each one of them will give each day. We are so proud of them and what they have accomplished.”

Follow the Panola College Rodeo Team on the Panola College athletics webpage and on the Facebook page for the team. The Rodeo Team’s Facebook page has a gallery of photos.