LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - “They call us Goat Tying University. If one of them does good, they all do good," McNeese head Rodeo coach, Justin Browning said. "They really feed off each other.”
For the second year in a row, the Cowgirls rodeo team is on top, ranking first in the nation after their success at the 71st College National Finals in Wyoming.
“Back-to-back goat tying champions, all around champions and national team champions. It means a lot," said Browning. "Most of the girls are from Louisiana. It just shows how tough Louisiana High School Rodeo makes them and how tough the state of Louisiana is. It’s a good representation of the state and our community.”
Those champions? Mia Manzanares, Ashleigh Young, Grace Hanley, and Kati Murphy - a bell city native, who’s been roping since she was able to get on a horse.
Kati helped guide McNeese to its second consecutive team championship after totaling 90 of her teams 462.5 points.
“It was crazy," Kati Murphy expressed. "I can’t say it was what I was expecting. It was a lot more calming that my family and my teammates were there with me. It was really exciting. This is what we work for all year long and to be able to share that with my teammates that work alongside me, it’s amazing.”
And with Kati only heading into her junior season, she plans to bring many more championships back to Lake Charles.
"We’re going to keep working hard and hopefully keep this going,”said Murphy.
We can’t put the spotlight on the Cowgirl rodeo team without mentioning Mia Manzanares. She returned home as the two-time women’s all-around champion and the co-winner of the goat tying championship.
“Everything is built on trust. With yourself, your horse and your teammates," Murphy added. “That’s the only thing that makes this work. I have been so blessed to be paired with such awesome girls who root for me and I know I root for them more than anything.”