Desoto County Sports

Northwest Rangers rodeo introduces new competitors  

Photo: Members of the 2023-24 signing class join coach Will Lummus (back row, far right) and current members of the Northwest rodeo team during Tuesday’s signing ceremony. Lummus welcomes a total of 15 freshmen to this year’s roster. (Brian Lentz/

Amid a Tuesday mid-morning luncheon and meet-and-greet, Northwest rodeo coach Will Lummus welcomed 15 newcomers to his 2023-24 rodeo roster, rounding out his inaugural recruiting class.

Riley Blackwell, Hank Burgess, Christian Cagle, Trevor Carlton, Will Collier, Emily Fugate, Cody Johnson, Kent Jordan, Joseph Moody, Delaney Naifeh, Wyatt Newman, Aiden Reel, Austin Roberts, Matt Taylor and Sadie Yearwood all formally signed their paperwork to join the Rangers during Tuesday’s ceremony.

“I really think this coming year will be huge for us,” Lummus said, on his freshman class. “All but three of these freshmen are competing in multiple events, which is huge for earning points as a team. We’re going to do really big things next year and hopefully, we can send a full team to the College National Finals.”

Lummus’ first season yielded improved results, highlighted by College National Finals Rodeo qualifier Colby Burgess, who will compete June 11-17 in Casper, Wyoming. Burgess, a bull rider, placed second in the NIRA Ozark Region standings this season. As a team, the Ranger men placed 10th in the overall region standings, while the Lady Rangers placed eighth.

Other notable results from the 2022-23 season included Luke Stanley placing sixth in bull riding and David Holt placing 12th in tie-down roping. Freshman Darby Toole concluded her barrel racing season with 140 total points, earning a top 15 finish in the region standings.

A full list of the 2023-24 signing class can be found below, along with hometowns and events each participant will compete in. More information on each student-athlete will be released later this summer on the official 2023-24 roster.

2023-24 Signing Class:

  • Riley Blackwell (Walnut Hill, Fla.) – Breakaway roping, barrel racing, goat tying
  • Hank Burgess (Dalton, Ga.) – Calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling
  • Christian Cagle (Canton, Ga.) – Bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, steer wrestling
  • Trevor Carlton (Trenton, Tenn.) – Bull riding
  • Will Collier (Risco, Mo.) – Team roping, steer wrestling
  • Emily Fugate (Baker, Fla.) – Breakaway roping, goat tying
  • Cody Johnson (Boston, Ga.) – Saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping
  • Kent Jordan (Tallassee, Ala.) – Steer wrestling, team roping
  • Joseph Moody (Pontotoc, Miss.) – Team roping, calf roping
  • Delaney Naifeh (Covington, Tenn.) – Barrel racing, goat tying
  • Wyatt Newman (Wilsonville, Ala.) – Steer wrestling
  • Aiden Reel (Olive Branch, Miss.) – Team roping, calf roping, steer wrestling
  • Austin Roberts (Pontotoc, Miss.) – Calf roping, team roping
  • Matt Taylor (Sparta, Tenn.) – Team roping
  • Sadie Yearwood (Bells, Tenn.) – Barrel racing, goat tying

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