MIAMI — The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) rodeo team competed in Colby, Kansas, earlier this month for the first regular season National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) rodeo.

Riders competed against schools in the Central Plains Region and three NEO riders earned a top-five spot, with Amber Scales placing first in barrel racing, Ben Piazza placing third in tie-down roping, and Steven Richmond placing fourth in steer wrestling.

Scales is a freshmen Business Administration major from Pittsburg, Kansas. She put herself in a comfortable position by finishing the long round in fourth. Her blazing short-go performance earned her first place and puts her at the top of the NIRA standings with 140 points.

Her finish also placed the NEO women’s team in third place in the overall standings and first among two-year colleges.

Piazza from Twin Oaks, a freshman agriculture major, placed third in tie-down roping with a total time of 20.9 seconds over two rounds and a score of 110 points.

He was joined by Richmond, a freshman ag major from Gowan, Oklahoma, was tenth in the long round with a time of 4.6 seconds, but fought his way back to claim fourth in the average by clocking a blazing 3.9 seconds in the short-go and scored 70 points.

Their finishes place NEO in the top-10 among men’s teams.

“This was an awesome way to start our season,” said head coach Kolby Ungeheuer. “Having three true freshmen placing top four in their events is great and I expect great things from this year’s team. I can’t wait to get to our next competition.”

The teams will compete in three more rodeos in the fall portion of the schedule, heading to Durant this weekend.

For more information on the NEO Rodeo Program, contact Brittany Coffee at