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First female African American MSU architecture grad memorialized

MSU News - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 2:28pm

Contact: Addie Mayfield

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Nashville, Tennessee, resident is honoring the memory of a family member who made history at Mississippi State.

Betsy Jackson, along with her siblings, recently established the Sheila Rene Jackson Memorial Endowed Scholarship in the university’s College of Architecture, Art and Design.

In 1984, Sheila Jackson became the first female African American receiving a bachelor’s degree from the School of Architecture. She went on to a professional design career with the City of Atlanta and Georgia Institute of Technology Research Institute, among other organizations.

“The School of Architecture is honored to be the recipient of this generous memorial scholarship,” said school director Michael Berk. “She was a pioneer in helping to break gender and racial barriers in the architectural profession, and remains an incredible role model for us all.”

Berk, who also holds the school’s F.L. Crane Endowed Professorship, said the Jackson Scholarship will be awarded to a worthy student completing the final year of the school’s traditional five-year undergraduate program. Among other criteria, preference will be given to female African American majors, he added.

“My sister believed in helping others,” Betsy Jackson said. “My siblings and I wanted to do something that would not only honor Sheila’s legacy at MSU, but also would do what meant the most to her, help others.”

Established in 1973, MSU’s architecture school offers the only accredited professional degree of its kind in Mississippi. Housed in downtown Jackson, the senior-year study requirement was the nation’s first self-contained, fifth-year program in the major.

For information on creating scholarships through the College of Architecture, Art and Design, contact Perry K. “P.K.” Thomas, the college’s development director, at 662-325-2464 or

For more about the School of Architecture and other College of Architecture, Art and Design academic programs, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Tennis Set For 2015 ITA All-American Championships

Bulldog Beat - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 2:00pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – After almost a month off from the courts, the Mississippi State men's tennis team returns to the action for one of the biggest fall tournaments of the year as the Bulldogs compete at the 2015 ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla.

'CTL 101: Best Practices in Online Instruction' sessions to begin Oct. 12

MSU News - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 1:54pm

The Center for Teaching and Learning at Mississippi State will offer "CTL 101: Best Practices in Online Instruction" from Oct. 12 to Nov. 8.

The online course will highlight best practices in online education for both experienced and first-time instructors. It is designed to address critical issues in online delivery that are key elements of quality instruction.

The training will be taught completely online using myCourses — — over the four-week period. Completion of this course leads to CTL certification in distance instruction.

Space is limited to 15 participants in each session. To register, please visit

If you would like additional information about this course or require special assistance relating to a disability, please contact Linda Morse at 662-325-2083 or

Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra presents ‘Jazz at Renasant’

MSU News - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 1:08pm
Charles E. “Charlie” Sorto, a senior music education major from Pontotoc, performs at the Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra’s annual Jazz at Renasant concert last year. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Charles E. “Charlie” Sorto, a senior music education major from Pontotoc, performs at the Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra’s annual Jazz at Renasant concert last year. (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.— The Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony Orchestra will present “Jazz at Renasant” during a Tuesday [Oct. 13] evening concert at the city’s Renasant Bank plaza.

Free and open to all, the 6 p.m. outdoor performance sponsored by the Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony Association features a nine-piece band and vocalists performing jazz, swing, blues, Latin and ballad standards.

Vocalists include MSU assistant professor Tara Warfield, lecturers Jeanette Fontaine and Chris Jordan, senior music education major Corinne D. “Cori” Reece of Aberdeen and junior music major Abby L. Weinstein of Marietta, Georgia.

Other soloists include associate professors Richard Human and Cliff Taylor, also MSU associate director of bands, on trombone; instructor Sheri Falcone, Armstrong Middle School and Starkville High School band director Doug Thomas, and senior music education major Tyler J. Stallings of Pontotoc, on saxophone; Myra Wingo, MSU summa cum laude music education graduate now teaching at Richland Elementary School in Richland, on piano; James Nail, MSU music graduate and serials specialist in Mitchell Memorial Library’s Office of Thesis and Dissertation Format Review, on bass; and senior music education major Kevin R. West of Byram, drums.

Michael Brown, MSU music professor and SSO music director, will play trumpet and conduct the band.

Selections for the evening concert include “Take the A Train,” “The Nearness of You,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Round Midnight,” “Blues in Hoss Flat,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” and “Misty.”

The bank is located at the intersection of East Lampkin and South Montgomery streets.

Seating is limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition to lawn chairs and blankets, patrons are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy during the twilight performance.

For additional concert information, contact Brown at 662-325-3070 or

Founded in 1969, the Starkville-MSU Symphony Association is a non-profit volunteer organization whose members work to educate, enlighten and share classical music with the city, university campus and other communities in the Golden Triangle region. Producing high-quality musical events and increasing awareness for the arts are its primary missions. For more, visit and

In addition to MSU and the City of Starkville, major association contributors include the J.W. Criss Foundation, Mississippi Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Renasant Bank, Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Columbus-based Gildea Foundation.

The association accepts tax-deductible donations via the MSU Foundation. To contribute, contact Lynn Durr at 662-325-8918 or

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Branco wrestles to the lead

Twisted Rodeo - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 11:16pm

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – Stan Branco makes no bones about his 2015 ProRodeo season.

“I just wasn’t bulldogging good enough,” said Branco, a 29-year-old steer wrestler from Chowchilla, Calif.

He kicked off his 2016 season on the right foot Thursday night with a 4.1-second run to take the early lead at the Waller County Fair and Rodeo in Hempstead.

Stan Branco

Stan Branco

“I rodeoed most of ’15 and came home early,” he said. I wasn’t winning like I needed to. If I start off winning now, it’ll hopefully start the year off right and I won’t be home in December next year.”

Each regular season runs Oct. 1-Sept. 30, and only the top 15 on the money list in each event advance to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December. It’s not only the cream of the crop in the sport, but it also features the biggest purse in rodeo.

“That’s where you make money,” said Branco, who earned a spot among the elite steer wrestlers at the NFR in 2013 and finished the season ninth in the final world standings. “It took a lot of money to make it to the NFR this year. The money is really spread out, and a lot of guys can dang sure bulldog.”

In fact, steer wrestling might be one of the toughest events in which to qualify for the finale, so getting an early start is key. Of course, competing in top form is also a must in the discipline, where proper technique often is matched with powerful men.

“Bulldogging used to be the place to get the aggression out,” he said. “I’m trying to get some of that back. I roped calves and team roped my whole life, and bulldogging is something more like football.”

Standing 6-foot-4, Branco weighs in at 260 pounds, and he looks like he could easily fit into an NFL lineup.

“The biggest thing for me before was the fight of it,” he said. “I need to get some of that back.”

It seems as though he’s well on his way.

Waller County Fair and Rodeo
Oct. 1-3
Hempstead, Texas
Bareback riding:
1. Winn Ratliff, 82.5 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Touched By An Angel; 2. Matt Bright, 80; 3. Richmond Champion, 78.5; 4. Scotty NeSmith, 78; 5. Kody Lamb, 77.5; 6. Anthony Thomas, 74.

Steer wrestling: 1. Stan Branco, 4.1 seconds; 2. Cody Doescher, 4.2; 3. Logan Glendhill, 4.4; 4. Clayton Hass, 5.0; 5. Wade Steffen, 5.1; 6. Shayde Tree Etherton, 5.5; 7. Wyatt Carney, 6.3; 8. Daryl Joe Elliott, 7.0.

Team roping: 1. Cord Crowell/Trey Carter III, 5.2 seconds; 2. Clayton Hass/Cody Doescher, 5.5; 3. Tyler Waters/Steve Northcott, 5.6; no other qualified times.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Sam Spreadborough, 77 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Sky Bow; 2. (tie) Isaac Diaz, Alex Wright and CoBurn Bradshaw, 73; no other qualified rides.

Tie-down roping leaders: 1. Ace Slone, 10.0 seconds; 2. Trent Walls, 16.0; 3. Riley Lambert, 26.4; no other qualified times.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Brittany Grant, 15.40 seconds; 2. Tiffani Sonnier, 15.44; 3. Shelby Garcia, 15.68; 4. Jennifer Epps, 15.71; 5. Jill Tanner, 15.74; 6. Susan Liggitt, 15.88; 7. Lauren Davang, 20.63; 8. Sydni Blanchard, 21.21; 9. Sherrylynn Johnson, 22.24.

Bull riding: 1. Tim Bingham, 83.5 points on Lancaster & Pickett Rodeo’s Cash Daddy; 2. Ardie Maier, 79; no other qualified rides.

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Bulldogs Close Out Nine-Match Roadtrip At No. 21 Kentucky

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 8:00pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Looking to keep their momentum rolling after an impressive win Sunday in Oxford, the Mississippi State volleyball Bulldogs (11-4, 1-1 SEC) close out a nine-match road stretch at the No. 21 Kentucky Wildcats (9-5, 2-0 SEC) on Friday.

Meet Your Diamond Dawgs: Brant Blaylock

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 7:12pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – During the fall, will interview select Mississippi State newcomers as an introduction to the MSU fanbase.

Women’s Tennis Set To Travel To Purdue Invite

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 6:45pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – After a two-week break, the Mississippi State women's tennis team returns back to action in the Purdue Invite this weekend in Lafayette, Indiana.

McGee joins Mississippi State alumni staff

MSU News - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 3:42pm
Casey McGee (Photo by Russ Houston)

Contact: Amy Cagle

Casey McGee (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The 130-year-old Alumni Association of Mississippi State University is welcoming a new professional staff member. Starkville native Casey McGee began her duties Sept. 21 as the new assistant coordinator for chapter and recruitment programs.

The Alumni Association was founded June 17, 1885, by the first three graduating classes of what then was Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College. The association strives to foster lifelong relationships through programs, activities and events for the university’s alumni, and McGee will play a key role in carrying out this mission.

McGee will provide guidance and advice for the university’s 95 alumni chapters and their leaders. In her role, she also serves as a liaison between the Alumni Association and the Office of Admissions and Scholarships, and will personally work with alumni to further the role of this group in student recruiting. Mississippi State currently has more than 132,000 living alumni.

“Casey brings great knowledge of and passion for MSU to this position,” said Jeff Davis, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association.  “I am confident she will be a strong asset to the Division of Development and Alumni and our Alumni Association team.”

McGee received her bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in public relations in 2015 from Mississippi State. While a student, she was communications manager for the EcoCAR 3 team and served as vice president of public relations and as scholarship committee chair for the association’s Alumni Delegates.

“My time of service as an Alumni Delegate developed a strong passion in me not only for Mississippi State, but also for the mission of the Alumni Association,” McGee said.

McGee comes to the Alumni Association from A2H Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee, where she served as marketing coordinator. 

For more on the MSU Alumni Association, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

MSU administrators, faculty named SEC academic leadership fellows

MSU News - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 2:55pm

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Greg Hall (Photo by Megan Bean)Linda Cornelious (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Four Mississippi State administrators and faculty members are among 50 selected as 2015-16 Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program Fellows.

Since its inception in 2008, the professional development program has worked to identify, prepare and professionally advance academic leaders for key roles at each of the 14 SEC-member universities.

The MSU honorees include:

—Linda Cornelious, professor in the instructional systems and workforce development department.

—Greg G. Hall, professor and associate dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design.

—Ron McLaughlin, professor and associate dean for administration in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

—Linda W. Morse, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and professor in the counseling and educational psychology department.

Linda Morse (Photo by Megan Bean)Ron McLaughlin (Photo by Tom Thompson)

Through this academic initiative, the athletic conference works to sponsor, support and promote collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students. Providing an online platform to showcase achievements of these individuals on regional, national and international levels is among its primary missions.

Designated by provosts at the respective institutions, ALDP liaisons serve as the conference’s primary point of academic contact.

“The individuals selected by their SEC universities to participate in the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program represent the future of higher education administration,” said SECU Executive Director Torie Johnson. “The leadership skills they already possess are sure to be enhanced by the SEC ALDP experience.”

Cornelious is a Florida State University doctoral graduate who was named in 2003 as Outstanding Faculty Woman of the Year by the MSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women. A published author, she regularly serves as presenter and leader at national, regional and state professional conferences. Her primary areas of research include, among others, instructional technology, educational leadership, multicultural education and community service learning.

Hall is an award-winning architect, educator and administrator with extensive local, regional and international experience. He holds a doctoral degree from University of Hong Kong and bachelor’s degree from University of Texas at Austin, both in architecture. Along with receiving a certificate in Japanese language from Osaka, Japan-based Kansai University of Foreign Studies, Hall completed liberal arts studies at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa. In addition to cross-departmental undergraduate and graduate courses in such areas as design and construction technology, he has developed and taught courses on architecture design management and global architecture practice.

McLaughlin, a board-certified veterinary surgeon who specializes in small animal surgery, started at MSU-CVM in 2000 as an associate professor and chief of surgery. He became head of the department of clinical sciences in 2006. A University of Missouri-Columbia veterinary medicine doctoral graduate, he provided leadership in establishing the college’s Veterinary Medical Technology program, one of only three 4-year veterinary technology programs in the country.

Morse is a Florida State University doctoral graduate with extensive experience in instructional design, development and evaluation. Along with being a John Grisham Master Teacher, she is a research fellow for the university’s Social Science Research Center, where her efforts focus on cognition issues and development.

For more about the SEC Academic Leadership Development program, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Soccer Heads to College Station For SEC Battle With Texas A&M

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 12:00pm
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Coming off one of the most successful months in program history, the Mississippi State women's soccer team heads into October looking to keep the winning trend alive as the Bulldogs (3-5-3, 1-1-2 SEC) travel to Texas A&M (9-3-0, 2-2-0 SEC) for a pivotal conference clash.

"Relentless" MSU Football Episode V Now On Demand On

Bulldog Beat - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 11:55am
STARKVILLE, Miss. – The fifth episode of "Relentless," a new weekly show produced by Hail State Productions that chronicles the 2015 Mississippi State football season, is now available on demand on

Benefits open enrollment underway

MSU News - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 1:00am

Starting Thursday [Oct. 1], benefits open enrollment will be available for eligible Mississippi State University employees. Open enrollment is required only if you are adding new coverage, changing existing coverage or canceling coverage. If you aren’t adding new coverage, changing existing coverage or canceling coverage, you do not need to participate in open enrollment, and your current benefits will continue into 2016.

The Human Resources Management (HRM) Web site -- -- provides information and resources needed for Open Enrollment.

For those who do not have access to a computer, please visit HRM in person at McArthur Hall, Room 150, or call 662-325-3713 to obtain this information.

Off-campus open enrollment options include:

Central Mississippi Research and Extension, Raymond
Monday, Oct. 5, 2015
10 a.m.-1 p.m.

North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, Verona
Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015
10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Delta Research and Extension Center, Stoneville
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015
10 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 12, 2015
3-6 p.m.

Coastal Research and Extension Center, Biloxi
Monday, Oct. 26, 2015
1-3 p.m.

All online elections must be completed by Oct. 25. Completed application forms must be received by HRM on Oct. 31 to be effective for 2016.

There are three ways to complete the open enrollment process:

Online Open Enrollment: Step-by-step instructions for completing Online Open Enrollment are available on the HRM Web site -- -- during the open enrollment period Oct. 1 through Oct. 25.

HRM Benefits Staff: If you need assistance from the HRM Benefits Staff, we encourage you to schedule an appointment by calling 662-325-3713. The Department of Human Resources Management, 150 McArthur Hall, will be open between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to assist employees as needed.

HRM Web site: You may refer to the HRM Web site,, to obtain product information and appropriate forms in the benefits section.

Mike Smith Continues Hot Streak In 11-3 Blowout

Bulldog Beat - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 9:58pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Maroon exploded for a nine-run second inning on its way to an 11-3 rout versus Gray Wednesday evening in Mississippi State's ninth scrimmage of the fall.

MSU nutrition graduate students to compete in RICE Bowl

MSU News - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 5:31pm
The second RICE Bowl will take place in Jackson on Oct. 27.

Contact: Georgia Clarke

The second RICE Bowl will take place in Jackson on Oct. 27.

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Three Mississippi State University graduate students will travel to the state capital Oct. 27 to take part in the second RICE Bowl.

An interdisciplinary health-care competition whose title is an acronym for Rural Interdisciplinary Case Experience, the 5:30-7:30 p.m. event takes place in the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s conference center at the Jackson Medical Mall.

Interested members of the general public are being encouraged to attend both the competition and reception that follows at the location. 

All pursuing master’s degrees and serving as dietetic interns in the food science, nutrition and health promotion department, the MSU team includes Tiffany M. Mihaliak of Clarksburg, West Virginia; Kayla E. Proctor of Ocean Springs; and Brooke A. West of Ashburn, Virginia.

Proctor is pursuing her third degree in the academic major from MSU, with a bachelor’s degree completed in 2013 and her first master’s the following year. Mihaliak is a graduate of West Virginia University; West, Virginia Tech University.

The Rice Bowl again is organized by UMMC’s Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities and Office of Population Health. The challenge was designed to provide an experiential learning opportunity for students from multiple disciplines working in teams to address complex rural health issues.

In addition to MSU and UMMC, institutions represented this year will include Belhaven and Jackson State universities, Mississippi College and University of Mississippi.

“This is a great opportunity for graduate students and dietetic interns to practice their critical thinking skills while participating in a friendly multidisciplinary case study competition and working with graduate students in other healthcare disciplines,” said MSU professor Diane Tidwell.

Tidwell directs the department’s didactic program in dietetics. For more on the department, visit

Complete details on the Rice Bowl are found at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading research university, available online at

Tickets On Sale For Bulldogs’ SEC/AAC Challenge Contest

Bulldog Beat - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 5:03pm
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Tickets are now available for fans to venture to Jacksonville, Fla., to support Mississippi State women's basketball as it faces South Florida on Dec. 30 in the SEC/AAC Challenge.

MSU research center fellow selected for prestigious Japanese program

MSU News - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 4:59pm
AnnaMaria Cornelia of Belgium and Emily Roush-Elliot of Mississippi State are pictured during a week in Japan as participants of The Outstanding Young Persons Program of Osaka’s Junior Chamber International organization. (submitted photo)

Contact: Christie McNeal

AnnaMaria Cornelia of Belgium and Emily Roush-Elliot of Mississippi State are pictured during a week in Japan as participants of The Outstanding Young Persons Program of Osaka’s Junior Chamber International organization. (submitted photo)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—An architect with Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design recently returned from a week-long collaborative learning experience in Japan as part of an international group of young professionals.

Emily Roush-Elliott was selected for The Outstanding Young Persons Program of Osaka’s Junior Chamber International organization. She is the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow at the Fred Carl Small Town Center, the research arm of MSU’s School of Architecture.

Since 1981, the Japanese organization has worked “to encourage mutual understanding and communications beyond national frameworks.” Annually, it invites less than a dozen individuals representing a variety of career fields throughout the world to gather, discuss, learn from and encourage each other.

This year’s TOYP program covered a range of critical issues and was designed to expand the participants’ knowledge of and appreciation for the Pacific island nation’s highly evolved culture.

Roush-Elliot expressed appreciation for being selected, adding that she was “particularly excited” about this year’s program theme, “Designing Society for Equity.”

“Utilizing design thinking to respond to the globe’s most complex social equity challenges is at the core of my work and the work of the organizations of which I am a part,” she said.

“It was a great honor to be chosen as a participant. The JCI Osaka members were gracious and attentive hosts who introduced us to Japanese culture while also engaging us around issues of national importance, such as gender inequity and a parallel decline in population and economic growth,” she added.

In 2012, the Carl Center became one of only four national organizations designated to receive an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow.

Roush-Elliot arrived at MSU early the following year and since has lead the Baptist Town Neighborhood Reinvestment project in Greenwood. She holds degrees in design from Arizona State University and architecture from the University of Cincinnati.

During her time in the Leflore County seat, Roush-Elliot has focused on planning and constructing a park, playground, streetscapes and signage. She also has opened a community center and organized participatory activities in the Central Delta community.

Additionally, her multi-disciplinary MSU team had completed an 11-unit modular housing project in which low-income families were able to purchase new homes from the Greenwood-Leflore Fuller Center for Housing.

Roush-Elliot joins nearly 200 that have been selected for the prestigious Japanese program since it was established more than three decades ago. Among others are Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc.; former presidential aide Roger B. Porter; and Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity.

Greg G. Hall, associate dean of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, was a 1994 selection. He described the program as a valuable opportunity to discuss critical issues with colleagues from around the world, as well as Japanese business leaders.

“We’re excited that Emily was invited to participate,” he added. “Her experience as an architect and her work with the Carl Small Town Center in the Mississippi Delta provide an especially important viewpoint.”

The national Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship was created to provide a select group of the nation’s most outstanding early-career architects with opportunities for first-hand training and experience in sustainable community design work. For more, visit The Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship.

Complete information about MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design is found at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Hodges is in the business of funny

Twisted Rodeo - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 3:35pm

DUNCAN, Okla. – Robbie Hodges takes his job seriously, even though it’s a bit of an oxymoron for a rodeo clown.

“I love to look up and see the contestants watching my acts,” said Hodges, who will be funnyman/barrelman during the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15-Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Stephens County Arena in Duncan.

Robbie Hodges

Robbie Hodges

“I love for them guys to like what I’m doing. That’s my meter of what I judge my performance by, the guys that go to 120 rodeos a year. I try to bring something different. Every performance to me is different. My (attention deficit disorder) is so bad that I couldn’t handle it if I did it any other way or if I tried to go by a certain script every time.”

When rodeo regulars like Hodges’ work, then there’s a good indication the crowd will, too. That’s the main reason the Georgia man has long been considered one of the very best entertainers in ProRodeo. He’s been nominated as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s clown of the year, entertainer of the year and the Coors Man in the Can, which recognizes the best barrelmen in the business.

“I love to work the barrel,” said Hodges, who was selected as the barrelman for the 2010 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. “That’s the most important aspect of being a barrelman, not necessarily the comedy but being there to help protect the bull riders and the bullfighters. If you’re going to be a barrelman, go get those guys. That’s been my reputation.”

It’s one that was forged in rodeos in the Southeastern United States, where Hodges got his start in the late 1990s. His strong Georgia accent is an avenue of pride, but so is the work he does inside the arena.

“I worked a lot of (Florida) rodeos in Okeechobee and Kissimmee, and that was a very mean place to learn,” he said. “When you leave there, you’d better be ready. Them bulls will just keep coming at you.”

But being inside the specialized barrel isn’t the only thing Hodges has done in rodeo. In fact, he rode bareback horses for 16 years before he started wearing greasepaint and making crowds laugh at his antics.

“I was always the guy who played tricks on everybody around me, doing things to make everybody else laugh,” Hodges said. “Everybody told me I needed to do it.

“I called a local stock contractor in Georgia about working some rodeos. The next thing I know I was doing five rodeos, then the next year, 20. I’m very lucky.”

He also is very talented, and a key ingredient in his work is how he interacts with the crowd.

“I tried to back off a lot of the traditional stuff,” he said. “A lot of my stuff is audience participation.”

That aspect of his performance allows Hodges to showcase a natural talent of being funny in a moment’s notice. Through observances and being keenly aware of what’s going on during each performance, he not only celebrates rodeo, he helps engage fans into the game with his humor.

It’s a trait he’s held tightly since a youngster. In addition to sharing his life with the crowd while in the arena, he also realizes he can provide a special gift with individualized attention.

“What would it have been like if you were a kid and one of the great sports heroes came up and talked to you at the game?” he asked. “I try to do that. I want at least one person to come up and say, ‘Hey, that guy came up and talked to me.’

“When I’m in the arena, I am larger than life. I’m the attention. I love to take that and give that back to someone. When I was a kid in about the fourth or fifth grade, I was bullied pretty bad. I try to pick out a kid and sit with them. I always think that it would’ve been great if that had happened to me when I was a kid, so I want to give that to someone.”

That’s a fascinating part about how Hodges goes about his business. He understands his role as part of the rodeo production, and he wants to add to it. He wants fans to be part of the rodeo experience and to go home after each of the three performances in Duncan knowing they enjoyed the show.

Rodeo is a unique mix of family-friendly entertainment and world-class competition. Hodges has lived both sides of it, and he sees each show through the audience’s eyes. He also knows how special it is to work the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo.

“That is the Prairie Circuit, and those are real cowboys out there,” he said, recognizing the fact that a number of qualifiers for the finale also are NFR regulars. “You get to work with the best, and that’s always great.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo

Moore claims Eliminator title

Twisted Rodeo - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 12:41pm

HEMPSTEAD, Texas – Timber Moore likes competing in The Eliminator at the Waller County Fair and Rodeo.

On Tuesday night, the four-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Aubrey, Texas, put the wraps on his second straight title in the unique competition that featured eight NFR qualifiers owning 13 world championships.

Timber Moore

Timber Moore

“There are a lot of guys that rope great that were here,” said Moore, who earned $5,000 for the victory. “I swapped horses and was riding my good horse in the second half, and he was making stuff happen. I drew good, and luckily it all worked out in my favor.”

The event featured three world champs: Fred Whitfield, who has seven gold buckles, Cody Ohl (6) and Shane Hanchey (1). Hanchey and Moore return to the NFR this December, as do the other four cowboys in the mix: Marty Yates, Caleb Smidt, Hunter Herrin and Cory Solomon.

All eight competed in the first round, with the bottom two times being eliminated. Over the remaining rounds, the slowest individual times were dropped, which is the key to The Eliminator’s format. It was a great precursor for the fair’s rodeo, which is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday in the same arena at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead.

As the competition unfolded, it became a race in the final round between Moore and Ohl, who owns a record 52 NFR wins on his impressive resume. Ohl roped first and put together a blazing time of 7.4 seconds.

“Knowing how fast you’ve got to be sure makes it a lot easier,” said Moore, who followed with a 6.9-second run, the fastest time in the two years of the competition. “Knowing I had to go fast, I just had to take some chances.”

With ProRodeo’s grand championship still two months away, The Eliminator allowed the cowboys the opportunity to make pressure-packed runs. Now they’ll spend the remaining weeks fine-tuning their talents to compete for the biggest purse in the sport.

“It’s a fast start, and you have to tie them fast,” Moore said of The Eliminator. “It kind of prepares me, but we’re still so far off that I’ve still got more preparing to do before I get there.”

Categories: Twisted Rodeo
The Borger cross country teams competed at the Rebel Run in Amarill this past Saturday. See full...
The Borger Bulldogs football team had a tough night at Bulldog Stadium losing to Perryton 44-19....
The 2015 West Texas Comanche football team.


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