No multi-champion of the Timed Event Championship of the World had gone more than six years between titles.
That is until Sunday.
K.C. Jones, 44, who claimed his fourth TEC title in 2001, won the 2012 Timed Event with 360.6 seconds on 25 head at the Lazy E Arena. Jones is only the second cowboy in the 28-year history of the Timed Event to win five or more titles. Trevor Brazile, out this year with an injury, has won six times.
“Just thank God,” said Jones of Burlington, Wyo., who also has been a runner-up five times. “I’ve been fortunate and had a lot of people help me and worked hard at it and worked hard with my horses. It’s just great.”
After finishing second in 2010, Jones went penniless at the event a year ago in Guthrie. This time around though, he not only won the average for $50,000 but had the fourth and fifth fastest rounds to total $57,000 in three days. That runs his career TEC earnings to $445,500.
“The finances are great and that’s why we do it,” he said. “The money’s great, but I don’t know if we’d work quite this hard for the money, but we do this because we love it.”
At the Timed Event, each contestant has to compete in the team roping–heading, tie-down roping, team roping–heeling, steer wrestling and steer roping. The latest version of the “Ironman Event of Pro Rodeo” certainly was not without suspense.
Jones was 57.2 seconds ahead of the field after 14 runs. But after 24 head, his lead was 21.8 seconds over Russell Cardoza of Terrebonne, Ore., who was second in the average and Jones was 38.7 seconds ahead of Josh Peek of Pueblo, Colo., who was third. In the steer roping, Peek used two loops to go 28.0 for 400.0 seconds, while Cardoza was solid with a 20.9 for 376.0.
So Jones rode into the box needing to be 42.6 seconds or faster to win the Championship.
Jones said the late Clem McSpadden, “Voice of the Lazy E Arena,” often teased him about needing a good steer roping horse of his own. The cowboy trained one in recent years and was riding the horse he calls “Clem” to a steer roping run of 27.3 seconds Sunday to clinch the title.
In addition to his runner-up finish, Cardoza placed third and sixth in the fast rounds for earnings of $32,000. He is fourth in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association heeling world standings with $20,495. The 25-year-old was never lower than ninth in the average at the TEC. Cardoza led after the sixth and seventh runs and then suffered a 60-second penalty (the equivalent of a no-time) in the tie-down roping of the second round. However, he worked his way back into contention.
Peek, 32, the 2010 Timed Event champion, finished third in the average for $15,000. The two-time PRCA reserve all-around World Champion, was never lower than fifth in the average after the first round, and he was second or third in the average after the last dozen runs.
Daniel Green, 39, of Oakdale, Calif., the 2002 and 2008 TEC champion, was fourth in the average with 426.6 on 25 and posted the fastest round of the weekend with a 54.0 in the fourth-go to total $20,000.
“Everybody that was entered here knows it was the ‘Ironman’ here this year,” Jones said.
The contestants were 20 of the most established, versatile cowboys in the game, and they earned the right to be part of the by-invitation-only crowd to compete at the Lazy E, which developed the Timed Event Championship in 1985 to determine the best all-around timed-event cowboy in the world – the man who could stand out in more than his specialty event, the man who could be consistent in all five timed events.
Most of today’s ProRodeo cowboys focus on a single discipline, maybe two, but the Timed Event Championship allows each contestant the opportunity to spread his wings and fly in a different direction. It’s an outstanding test of all the skills that have made the sport of rodeo what it is today. It’s a challenge, and those who have walked away with the coveted Gist Gold Buckle and $50,000 carry the admiration of thousands of other great athletes who make up ProRodeo. They also carry the bragging rights to one of rodeo’s greatest accomplishments. The winner of each Timed Event Championship of the World is in a special class of competitor. It’s a small fraternity, and only the best are included.