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A member of the Northeastern A&M College rodeo team was among four killed in a crash Wednesday night near Highlandville, Missouri. Lance D. Porterfield, 19, a freshman from Sparta, Missouri, was among seven others in a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado that left a road in Stone County, near Highlandville. Porterfield was sixth in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Central Plains Region in team roping as a header. He and heeler Patrick Hutchings had finished second at the team’s last competition at Alva. “Their goal was to make the college finals and they were headed in the right direction,” said NEO rodeo coach Kolby Ungeheuer. Porterfield also competed in calf roping for NEO. “It was a terrible, tragic accident,” Ungeheuer said. “He was a great young man. He had started off on a good year. He was a really talented header.”

Ungeheuer said Porterfield and several other rodeo team members did rope tricks for various groups during the semester. “He really enjoyed doing that,” Ungeheuer said. “He wasn’t afraid to get up there and show off. It was a pretty neat deal.”

“He was a great kid,” said Tyler Dewey, chairman of the ag department at NEO. “He was a talented kid and was one of those whom everybody loved. His fellow students loved him and all the teachers loved him. He always had a smile on his face and a good sense of humor.”

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Landon C. Potts, 17, of Nixa, Missouri, left the road and struck a tree. Porterfield, Potts, Logan A. Middleton, 19, of Nixa, and Cody R. Uber, 19, of Nixa, were killed. NEO sophomore Dylan Wright, 19, of Ozark, Missouri, a member of the horse judging and rodeo teams, was injured in the accident. His condition was upgraded to stable on Friday after being admitted in serious condition. William M. Ramage, 19, of Nixa, was dismissed Friday. “It’s rocked all of us, to tell you the truth,” Dewey said. “It makes you realize every second is pretty precious, every second.”

The other two occupants of the truck, Wyatt T. Beebee, 18, of Nixa, and Tyler R. Rollings, 18, of Nixa, were not transported, according to the MSHP report. Wright, Ramage and Beebe were the only occupants of the truck who were listed as wearing a seatbelt. “We were sure blessed to have him on the rodeo team,” Ungeheuer said. “It’s going to be tough on the team for a long time. You never get over it. Services for Porterfield will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Sparta High School under the direction of the Adams Funeral Home of Ozark. Visitation will be at 1 p.m. A candlelight vigil for the four dead teens was planned for 5 p.m. Sunday.

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