The Road to the College National Finals Rodeo starts here with the Panola College Rodeo on Friday and Saturday night.

Hosted by the defending National Champions Panola College rodeo team at the Bar None Cowboy Church Arena in Tatum, with the slack beginning Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. and the performance at 7 p.m.

Admission is free for all fans, however, the seating will be limited due to social distancing requirements of COVID-19.

Panola Coach Jeff Collins and his men’s team are still the defending 2019 National Champions entering this season, since the rodeo season was cut short last March.

Collins is excited about his men’s and women’s teams for the coming year and is looking forward to defending that men’s national championship.

“The kids are definitely ready to compete," he said. "We have a very talented group of sophomores and freshmen. They are looking sharp and crisp and ready to compete, and our sophomores are adding great leadership in the arena in all events.

"I am excited to finally get to see both the men and women teams compete as both will be fighting for the national championship. We would like to thank all of the sponsors for standing behind our team and supporting our program."

The Panola College Rodeo is the first of 10 rodeos in the Southern Region, and is normally one of the largest rodeos of the year. The Southern Region is traditionally known as one of the toughest regions in the country for college rodeo.

It consists of Hill College, Louisiana State University of Alexandria, McNeese State University, Northeast Texas Community College, Panola College, Sam Houston State University, Southwest Texas Junior College, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Trinity Valley Community College and Wharton County Junior College.

Panola College would like to thank this year’s corporate sponsor, Calamity Jane’s Boutique Store located in Kilgore, and all other sponsors for this year’s rodeo.

“It has definitely been a different year already for the preparations for the rodeo, and we are confident that it will be a safe family environment for all,” said Collins.

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