Ranger College will host the Southwest Region National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association for the fourth straight year at Earl Q. Wilson Arena in Brownwood.


Around 480 student-athletes from 29 men’s and women’s region teams will compete Thursday through Sunday in a series of rodeo events.


All events will begin at 7 p.m. each day. Gates open at 6. Preliminary rounds will occur Thursday and Friday with finals starting Saturday.


Prelim events will follow in this order: bareback riding; tie-down roping; breakaway roping; steer wrestling; saddle bronc riding; goat tying; team roping; barrel racing; bull riding.


The Ranger College men’s team currently sits seventh out of 15 and has totaled 970 points in the standings since the start of the season in September of last year. Defending NIRA champion Tarleton State (2,658.33) enters the three-day competition with a staggering first-place lead over other teams in the region like second-place Western Texas College (1,745) and third-place West Texas A&M (1,275).


On the women’s side, Ranger College’s 145 total points places them in 10th out of the 14 teams in the region. Texas Tech (1667.5) has a comfortable lead over its competitors. The team closest to it is second-place Eastern New Mexico (1,097.49) and third-place South Plains College (1,022.5).


“The neatest thing is to see the athletes go to the professional level and excel there after doing well in college,” said eighth-year Ranger College head coach Llew Rust.


NIRA events hosted at Snyder (March 31-April 2), Big Spring (April 7-9) and Stephenville (April 21-23) will round out the season. Top three competitors in each event, and top two men’s and women’s teams from the NIRA’s 11 regions will qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo (June 12-18) in Casper, Wyo.


Ranger College has eight players from the men’s team in the top-15: Zachary Campbell (7th) and Jonathan Walker (8th) in bareback riding; Ky Bray (3rd) and Makayla Boisjoli (12th) in team roping header; Reno Stebner (2nd), Cody Falcon (3rd), Wesley Thorp (7th) and Trevor Kirchenschlager (12th) in team roping heeler.


Ranger College athletes in the top-15 for the women’s side are Cheyenne Britain (8th) in breakaway roping and Mariah Horton (12th) in goat roping.