GARY — Gary High School Josh Stephenson signed his letter of intent to attend school and rodeo for Northeast Texas Community College during a ceremony last Friday afternoon.
Stephenson, who considered several offers before deciding on NTCC, said he was delighted the process was complete and happy that its immediate future was ready.
“It’s awesome,” Stephenson said. “At first, I didn’t think of it like that. I just thought it was something fun I would do and grew to love it even more. Here I am now.
Stephenson started playing rodeo in sixth grade, and his love for the sport only grew over time.
It was in seventh grade that a friend of his introduced him to parachute dogging, and Stephenson thought it would be fun to try it. He officially began competing in the Texas Junior High Rodeo Association.
Gary’s future graduate is a rodeo legacy.
“My family has rodeoed for generations,” Stephenson said. “My dad did it, my grandpa did it, and my great-grandpa did it. My dad was really good at rodeo, and around sixth grade he got involved in the events from the Still Waters Cowboy Church arena and that’s when he introduced it to me. I was going to play days there and fell in love with it.
Stephenson plans to major in mechanical engineering and said the combination of that and the rodeo offering the NTCC was a big factor in his decision to choose the Mount Pleasant-based college.
He took his time choosing NTCC because he wanted to make sure it was right for him.
“Earlier this year I was contacted by several college coaches,” Stephenson said. “It took me some time to make up my mind and finally choose one. I went with Northeast Texas because they have mechanical engineering, which is what I plan to major in, and the coach. (Justin Hampton) he was a team stringer and is on the side of timed events and that’s what I plan to do.
Stephenson said he plans to compete in steer wrestling competitions and will move to the Mount Pleasant campus in August before starting school in the fall.
In addition to being part of the NTCC team, Stephenson plans to compete in open rodeos throughout the year.