Qualifiers are: Mia Manzanares, Opelousas, breakaway roping and all-around cowgirl; McKenzie Cooper, DeQuincy, goat tying; Alex Paris, Ark., bareback riding; Cole Frey, Morganza, team roping heeler; and Chad Rutherford, Burleson, Texas, bareback riding.
Cooper is a last minute addition to the team in goat tying as Manzanares bowed out of that competition to concentrate on breakaway roping. Cooper was ranked No. 4 in the Southern Region and moved up to the third spot when Manzanares stepped down. The top three in each category in each region are eligible for the national competition.
Manzanares, a freshman, is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation in breakaway roping after winning the 2016 Southern Region championship in the same event.
Edmonds and Rutherford, along with Manzanares, begin the competition on Sunday, June 12, while Frey and Cooper begin on Monday, June 13. Manzanares will also compete on Monday.
McNeese intercollegiate rodeo began in 1947 and this is the 25th consecutive year that McNeese has sent students to the national championship finals.
The NIRA crowns both individual event and team champions. Over 400 students from more than 100 universities and colleges will compete at this year’s competition.