Andrew Burks ended his freshman year at Pearl River Community College with a strong finish in the College National Finals Rodeo last week.
The former Hancock High standout finished third overall in the tie-down roping event with a total score of 42.6 at Casper, Wyo.
Burks was the only Wildcat to qualify for the national championships. It was PRCC’s first year competing in rodeo.
“Finishing third was a great achievement for me,” Burks said. “I felt great competing against college kids.”
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PRCC coach Robbie Shaw praised Burks’ performance at the College Rodeo, the national tournament for the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
“I’m super proud of Andrew of making it to the national rodeo,” Shaw said. “It’s a great achievement. During the year, he improved by staying focused and being consistent. He’s got a pretty good horse, and he’s consistent with his throws. He’s got good ground work and smooth hands. He’s one of the best in the area.”
Burks, 19, finished the regular rodeo season second in the tie-down roping event at the Ozark Region of the NIRA.
Burks will lead a strong Wildcats’ rodeo team next year. Ryder Ladner, Nick Gonzales and Chelsey Johnson will also return for PRCC.
“It’s the kids who did all the work, it’s got nothing to do with me,” Shaw said. “We’ve got a good group of kids, and we have a couple of kids coming in who we think will help us.”
Burks is looking forward to 2018. His main sponsor was Triton Stone Group of New Orleans.
“I feel confident heading into next year,” Burks said. “I feel that I can win it.”
Shaw believes Burks has a bright future on the rodeo circuit.
“There’s still a lot of potential in Andrew,” Shaw said. “He has a lot of talent and ability to compete on the Professional Rodeo trail and make it a career.”
Burks envisions a pro career.
“I think that I can compete on the professional level one day,” Burks said.