Area athletes heading to nationals
Thursday, 28 June 2012 by Chuck Kelly
Two area young cowboys and a cowgirl scored big at last weekend's High School Rodeo State Championships in Abilene and earned a spot in the National Finals. Blane Cox of Cameron won state in calf roping with times of 8.43, 10.65 and 9.58, and Gatesville's Case Jones finished in third place with runs of 9.73, 10.65 and 9.58. Samantha Chick of Salado earned a state title in goat tying. Her championship times were 8.53, 7.92 and 7.70. All three qualified for the National High School Rodeo competition.
Cox also made it to the short go in steer wrestling but had a no score and Chick got to the short go in pole bending but hit a pole and ended up 12th.
One of the most emotional and inspirational rides took place Friday night.
A third-generation bull rider who went to the National Finals last year, 15-year-old Pistol Preece, had a no score in the opening Go Round and was looking ahead, focusing on Friday night. Just before the second Go Round on Friday, the Troy High School sophomore-to-be was devastated to learn of the death of his best friend and football teammate, 15-year-old Shane Black, in a traffic crash.
It was time to "Cowboy Up", as the saying goes.
Young Pistol dedicated his ride to his late buddy and came out of the chute for a tremendous ride that earned him a score of 83 to win the Go Round.
Following Shane's funeral Saturday morning, Preece got a no score in the short Go Saturday evening. No nationals this year....time to just go home.
None of the other Central Texas student-athletes that had qualified for the State Championships qualified for the Nationals.
Gatesville's Kenan Isbell was the only other Region X bullrider to score, with a 75 and 76 in the second and short Go's.
Dylan Cosper of Moody (6.26, 15.76) and Trinton Downing of Troy (6.26, 15.76) made it to the Short Go in team roping but not timed.
Killeen's Tye Eldridge marked 14.67 and 13.29 in calf roping.
In barrel racing, McKenzie Powell of Troy had runs of 18.07 and 21.36 and in pole bending, had times of 26.99 and 26.52..
Shelby Zizzo of Belton ran the barrels in 18.18 and 22.06 and had times of 21.19 and 26.36 in pole bending.
Macy Ashford of Lott turned times of 31.34 and 30.32 in pole bending.
This wasn't Region X's best years at the State Finals but the youngsters gave it their all. The competition gets tougher each year and the atmosphere in Abilene is "gut-wrenching". It is really hard for these youngsters to put together three near-perfect runs. (Thanks to Jeff Ludwick, who did a great job in helping gather the scores)