Cowboys compete, but Aggies take the Rodeo Bowl

Robert Allen

HOUSTON, Texas -- For the Cowboys this was their third day in Houston and the Monday practice was more like a Tuesday practice with the offense and defense spending plenty pf time going against scout teams and working the game plan for Friday's Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl that will kick-off at 5:45 p.m. inside NRG Stadium. A couple of doors down from NRG Stadium is NRG Arena and tonight that was the site of competition of a different kind for the Cowboys and the Aggies. 

Both schools are steeped in agriculture and agriculture studies, so bringing out the folks from the famous Houston Rodeo and having them stage some fun competition was only a natural. Sports Illustrated has called it the best player event out of all the bowls and the two teams staged competition in putting a pair of boxers on a goat. The Cowboys won that in an impressive time that was just over half the time that it took the Aggies. 

Then Texas A&M went on an event spree starting with the calf herding competition where five players from each team herded calves out of the arena and into a pen. Texas A&M won that event in what may have been record time for this competition. The Aggies rolled to a 4-1 lead and the most tense event of the night was the roping event. 

Three players and one coach from each team competed and while walk-on receiver Gabe Simpson had been stellar in warm-ups and cowboys backs coach Jason McEndoo looked good as well, it was offensive tackle Jacob Farrell of Sulphur that carried the Cowboys. He and Texas A&M reserve running back Vernon Jackson were the only ones to connect with the stationary target. After regulation they went to overtime and tied again, second overtime, and finally a third and this time after Farrell missed for the first time, Jackson made it again for the win. 

"I've done it before some," Farrell said of his roping. "I really felt the pressure that second time when I had to go after he made it." 

Farrell made it then, but going first was what tripped the Cowboy roper up. 

Texas A&M had an insurmountable lead at 4-1, but the Cowboys showed their competitive fire when the big guys came out for the hay stacking contest and Oklahoma State not only won the even on time, but the judges ruled they had a much neater stack and it was over the line that it was supposed to cross in the event.

The final event was a relay with players wearing a horse costume and the Cowboys showed their speed and grit in winning that event by a sizeable margin. Those last two events, strength and speed involved, you'd like to think that would play in more than calf herding as to who wins the game on Friday night. 

Texas A&M was awarded a campionship belt that the players paraded around with, many of them putting it around their waist, but in the end the two teams really got the same prize, a full barbeque buffet that also went to the waist, but will be burned off with practice on Christmas Eve. 

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