By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (December 11, 2015) — Tarleton State graduate student Jace Melvin spent most of his efforts trying to earn Resistol PRCA Rookie of the Year honors in steer wrestling.
Being the top all-around rookie never really crossed his mind, says Tarleton rodeo coach Mark Eakin.
“He was hoping to be the steer wrestling rookie of the year, and he had no idea where he was in the all-around,” said Eakin in a telephone interview Friday afternoon. “He got the call from the PRCA and came running into the office in shock. He couldn’t believe it.”
It must have still been a bit surreal by Wednesday night of the National Finals Rodeo when Melvin and other top rookies were recognized in front of a sell-out crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Melvin earned the all-around rookie honor with $29,756.28 in earnings. He finished ranked 33rd in the world in steer wrestling – second among rookies – and also earned money in tie-down roping.
The honor completes quite the year of accomplishments for Melvin. He helped Tarleton to the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association national championship, earned his degree and now competes as a graduate student for Tarleton.
“Jace is just like all the guys on that team,” said Eakin. “They’re a special group, very driven and competitive. It doesn’t matter what level they’re competing at, they expect to win and they perform like it.”
Melvin is one of two local cowboys to earn top rookie honors. Bryce Barrios of Bluff Dale is the top rookie bull rider, as The Flash reported on Thursday here.