postheadericon Shofner closer to repeating as champ

Ben Shofner of Jasper, Texas, grapples his steer on Thursday during the second performance of the West of the Pecos Rodeo. Shofner, the reigning steer wrestling champion in Pecos, leads the two-run aggregate with a time of 12.9 seconds. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

Ben Shofner of Jasper, Texas, grapples his steer on Thursday during the second performance of the West of the Pecos Rodeo. Shofner, the reigning steer wrestling champion in Pecos, leads the two-run aggregate with a time of 12.9 seconds. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

PECOS, Texas – A year ago, Ben Shofner left town with the steer wrestling title at the West of the Pecos Rodeo and one of the most sought-after championship buckles in the sport.

He’s trying to win another.

On Thursday night during the second performance of the World’s First Rodeo, Shofner did just enough to move himself into first place in the two-run rodeo, downing his second steer in 7.3 seconds. That, combined with his 5.6, first-round leading run from Thursday morning, gives the Jasper, Texas, cowboy a seven-tenths of a second lead over the No. 2 man in the standings, Riley Duvall of Checotah, Okla.

“I had a steer tonight that was a little bit slower and a little bit weaker, and I kind of wadded him up,” Shofner said, referring to his having trouble grappling the steer over on its side to secure a fast time. “These steers are fresh, so you’ve just got to score good and throw them down. A lot of guys have been missing the start, so I should be alright.”

Timed-event contestants try to time their start based on how the cattle leaves the chute, and that’s referred to as scoring. In Pecos, where Buck Jackson Arena is rather large, steers and calves are provided longer head starts.

“I like it because you have to score them a little bit, and there’s still a lot of cowboy in it,” Shofner said. “I think it’s a lot better. I think a lot more bulldogging is involved in it and not so much a drawing contest.”

It seems to fit the 29-year-old cowboy quite well. He’ll await the final two performances – set for 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday – to see how the final standings play out.

Jacobs Crawley is in a similar boat. The two-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier in saddle bronc riding scored 80 points Thursday night aboard Carr Pro Rodeo’s YoYo to scoot into third place in the standings in Pecos. He’s already had a solid season, sitting 17th in the world standings, but he needs a strong financial return over the coming weeks to move into the top 15 and secure a third straight trip to Las Vegas.

“This is crunch time,” said Crawley, 25, of Stephenville, Texas. “This is where you’re either going to make or break your season the next month and a half of rodeoing.”

A nice paycheck in Pecos is a good way to kick start a hectic run. He realizes he’s just half the equation; he needs to have a good dance partner to make a big score happen, and he found that in YoYo, a Carr Pro Rodeo bucking horse that has performed at the NFR.

“She had a little bit more to her than I thought going into it,” Crawley said. “It’s a bucking horse, and they can literally do anything.”

West of the Pecos Rodeo
June 26-29
Pecos, Texas
Bareback riding leaders: 1. Taylor Price, 88 points on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket; 2. Will Lowe, 87; 3. Tom McFarland, 85; 4. Caine Riddle, 82; 5. Micky Downare, 79; 6. Craig Wisehart, 78; 7. Bill Tutor, 74; 8. Colt Bruce, 71.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, 6.8 seconds; 2. Charly Crawford/Ryan Motes, 6.8; 3. (tie) Dustin Davis/Kinney Harrell and Turtle Powell/Dugan Kelly, 6.9; 5. Arky Rogers/Walt Woodard, 7.4; 6. Derrick Begay/Cesar de la Cruz, 8.1. Second round leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, 6.2 seconds; 2. Chad Masters/Randon Adams, 6.8; 3. (tie) Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton and Arky Rogers/Walt Woodard, 7.0; 5. (tie) Colby Lovell/Martin Lucero and Brandon Webb/Wesley Johnson, 7.4; 6. Keven Daniel/Chase Tryan, 7.6. Average: 1. Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, 13.0 on two runs; 2. Arky Rogers/Walt Woodard, 15.0; 3. Chad Masters/Randon Adams, 15.0; 4. Turtle Powell/Dugan Kelly, 15.3; 5. Derrick Begay/Cesar de la Cruz, 15.8; 6. Dustin Davis/Kinney Harrell, 16.2.

Steer roping: First round: 1. Walter Priestly, 12.2 seconds, $1,821; 2. Garrett Hale, 13.7, $1,507; 3. Chance Gasperson, 13.8, $1,193; 4. Reo Lohse, 14.4, $879; 5. Jason Evans, 14.9, $565; 6. Troy Tillard, 15.1, $314. Second round: 1. Dan Fisher, 12.0 seconds, $1,821; 2. Lawson Plemons, 12.2, $1,507; 3. Troy Tillard, 13.1, $1,193; 4. (tie) J. Paul Williams and Landon McClaugherty, 13.5, $722 each; 6. Rod Hartness, 13.9, $314. Third round leaders: 1. Howdy McGinn, 12.5 seconds; 2. Chance Gasperson, 12.8; 3. Coy Thompson, 13.3; 4. Jim Davis, 13.4; 5. (tie) Mike Brewer and Garrett Hale, 13.6. Average leaders: 1. Troy Tillard, 42.2 seconds on three runs; 2. J. Paul Williams, 47.2; 3. Chance Kelton, 47.2; 4. Tony Reina, 49.1; 5. Scott Snedecor, 52.0; 6. Jim Locke, 54.7.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Isaac Diaz, 82 points on Lancaster & Pickett’s Holly Bucks; 2. Shane Proctor, 81; 3. Jacobs Crawley, 80; 4. Jesse Bail, 79; 5. Travis Sheets, 78; 6. (tie) Ty Kirkland  and Kobyn Williams, 75; 8. Leland Wood, 73.

Tie-down roping: Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Reese Riemer, 8.9 seconds; 2. Taylor Smith, 9.1; 3. Trevor Brazile, 9.3; 4. (tie) Blane Cox and Fred Whitfield, 9.4 each; 6. E.J. Roberts, 9.8. Second round leaders: 1. Clint Akins, 8.2 seconds; 2. Trevor Brazile, 8.7; 3. Payden Emmett, 9.0 seconds; 4. Marty Yates, 9.4; 5. Don Coffell, 10.1; 6. Lane Dudley, 10.2. Average leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile, 18.0 on two runs; 2. Clint Akins, 18.4; 3. Marty Yates, 19.5; 4. Blane Cox, 19.7; 5. Joe Keating, 22.6; 6. Don Coffell, 22.7.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Ben Shofner, 5.6 seconds; 2. Glen Clar, 6.0; 3. Royce Johnson, 6.3; 4. Riley Duvall, 6.4; 5. Chance Campbell, 6.7; 6. Justin Smith, 7.3. Second round leaders: 1. Tommy Cook, 5.3 seconds; 2. (tie) Cooper Shofner and Weston Taylor, 5.4; 4. Paul Melvin, 5.5; 5. Matt Reeves, 5.7; 6. Shayde Etherton, 5.8. Average leaders: 1. Ben Schofner, 12.9 seconds on two runs; 2. Riley Duvall, 13.6; 3. Monty Eakin, 14.3; 4. Matt Reeves, 16.8; 5. Glen Clark, 17.1; Chance Campbell, 22.3.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Shelby Frasier, 17.91 seconds; 2. Shelby Frasier, 17.91; 3. Clay Sewalt, 17.92; 4. Lindsey Ewing, 17.95; 5. Kenna Squires, 18.01; 6. (tie) Martha Wright and Tasha Welsh, 18.02; 8. Tammy Miller, 18.05; 9. Jordan Taton, 18.13; 10. Natalie Bland, 18.17; 11. Tammy Fischer, 18.18; 12. Lizzy Ehr, 18.25; 10. Lisa Fernandes, 18.37.

Bull riding leaders: 1. (tie) Ricky Aguiar, on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Seminole Wind, and Beau Schroeder, on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Footloose, 89 points; 3. Shane Proctor, 86; 5. (tie) Cameron Bland and Austin Meier, 85; 6. Ross Burney, 82; 7. Ty Wallace, 80; 8. Tanner Learmont, 79.

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