Calera’s JT Ellison takes home steer wrestling national title for West Alabama

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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By TYLER RALEY | Special to the Reporter

CASPER, WYO – Calera’s own JT Ellison cemented himself in history on Saturday, June 17, claiming an individual national championship at the 2023 College National Finals Rodeo at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper, Wyoming.

Ellison, who is a graduate student at the University of West Alabama, picked up the men’s title in steer wrestling. He was one of two to win an individual title for the Tigers this weekend, along with a team title that the UWA Women Wranglers won.

“This is exciting time for our team, school and town,” said West Alabama coach Daniel Poole.

On Saturday, Ellison posted a score of 6.7 in the Short Go portion of the event. This raised his weekly average to a 26.0 following the completion of the week’s competition portions for steer wrestling. He also posted the best aggregate time during the week as well.

The performance that Ellison put on for the weekend scored him a total of 130 points. The score was enough for him to edge out McNeese State’s Bradley Hensor, who scored 125 points, and drove him towards the all-important title of being a national champion.

He became one of the first to win one for the university since 2013.

“I have watched JT for four years pour his heart and soul into it,” Poole said. “That is why he is national champion. It’s a special moment watching his hard work pay off.”

Before entering college, Ellison competed in various rodeos while attending Jemison High School. It was there that he began posting results that got him noticed and won him multiple awards.

Amongst other accolades, Ellison was able to qualify for the 2017 Southeastern Professional Rodeo Association finals as a junior in high school, and won the 2018 Alabama High School Rodeo Association All-Around Cowboy title when he was a senior.

Prior to this year’s historic run to the top, he finished sixth in the Ozark Region for steer wrestling as a sophomore in the 2019-20 season. He also competed, and continues to compete, as a tie-down roper and team roper.

Ellison has enjoyed being able to represent his hometown and the county throughout his college career. He hopes that he can continue his success in the arena for years to come following the completion of his graduate degree.