Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 20, 2013

Tops In Texas PRCA Rodeo set for final performance tonight

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — There's bad news and good news concerning the 51st edition of Jacksonville's Tops In Texas PRCA Rodeo.

Bad news first: Those that have missed attending one of the first three 130-minute performances have missed out on a lot of fast-paced rodeo action, colorful pageantry and celebration of rodeo and community togetherness, which have all been prevalent this week at the Jacksonville Rodeo Arena on Mulberry Street.

Now for the good news: Fans have one more chance to experience the thrill of professional rodeo right here in Cherokee County as Tops In Texas has one performance left, beginning at 7 p.m. tonight (good seats are still available in all price ranges ($10-$14) and can be purchased at the gate).  

As a special treat, fans in attendance this evening will also have the opportunity to see the new rodeo queen be crowned, which is always a memorable moment.

Performance No. 2 (Thur.) recap

Thursday was the annual “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night which remembered those that have lost their battle against cancer, as well as to celebrate with the folks who have beat the terrible disease.

Many of those survivors were driven around the arena in a covered wagon and introduced to the crowd just prior to the start of the Grand Entry, which was capped off by a release of pink helium-filled balloons.

Fans always seem to get a little something extra for their money at Tops In Texas whether that be the Charles Ewalt Memorial Calf Scramble or Mutton Bustin' — tiny Cole Killingsworth earned a score of 80 to win on Thursday —  for the kids, or a little bit of cowboy preachin' for the older folks.

Pastor Mark Norman from Trails to Christ Cowboy Church delivered a message of hope as he slowly looped around the arena on horseback during the intermission.

Norman shared the word of the Lord with patrons and closed with an invitation for anyone seeking salvation.

New leaders surged to top in team roping and barrel racing

The final segment of the rodeo featured team roping, barrel racing and bull riding and provided some of the night's most intense action.

Huntsville, Texas cowboys Jake Orman and Corey Hendrick stopped the timer at 5.1 seconds to take over the top spot after two performance in team roping.

Fans also witnessed Camish Jennings and Brandon Bates partner up to earn complete their business in 5.8 seconds, which put them third overall.  

During the slack competition, veteran barrel racer Shelley Morgan forged out a new low time of 16.53 to move into first place, while the third-best time of the week (16.70) was scored by Annessa Self.

In the second portion of bull riding, Cody Sierks and Eli Vastbinder each scored an 86 to move into a three-way tie for second (along with Dylan Warner) in what is shaping up to be an extremely competitive field.

Siereks rode Pete Carr's Classic Pro Rodeo's “Generalissimo”, while Vastbinder's ride was ole “Diamond Joe.”

In other action, Justin Shaffer of Hallsville, Texas moved into second place in steer wrestling with a time of 4.7 Arkansas cowboy Jason Thomas found himself in the third slot for the week, following a swift time of 5.6 seconds.

Clint Griffis traveled to East Texas all the way from Lovell, Wyoming and evidently he came on a mission to win a check as he tallied a score of 75 aboard “Betty Boop”  in bareback riding to move into a tie for second for the week.

Nathan Steinberg's 9.8 seconds was the lowest time for the evening in tie down roping, but that was not enough to put him among the top three.

Thursday also saw a couple of local take to the muddy surface of the arena as Well's Tyler McKnight participated in team roping while Bullard's Kim Partain had a go in barrel racing.

McKnight, a heeler, and header, Tyler Wade had a difficult night and did not receive a score.

Partain, who has a chance at collecting a minor paycheck, was clocked in a time of 17.07 seconds.