Archive for February, 2014

postheadericon Scottsdale great to Panhandle cowboys

Thursday was a good day for cowboys who attended Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

Tyrel Larsen

Tyrel Larsen

During the Wrangler Champions Challenge in Scottsdale, Ariz., Panhandle State graduate Tyrel Larsen won the saddle bronc riding title and $4,080. He posted an 85.5-point ride on Salt River Rodeo’s Smoke ring to finish half a point ahead of the runner-up, Taos Muncy, who won the college bronc riding title in 2007, the same year he won the first of his two gold buckles.

Another Panhandle State cowboy, Cort Scheer, finished third in bronc riding. But the Champions Challenge is a showcase of ProRodeo’s elite. In fact, Larsen was the only winner who has not yet qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo; he finished 16th in the world standings last year.

Other winners were bareback rider Winn Ratliff, steer wrestler Trevor Knowles, team ropers Kaleb Driggers and Patrick Smith, tie-down roper Ryan Watkins, barrel racer Lisa Lockhart and bull rider Cody Campbell.

Now most of the field is making its way back to Texas for the short round in San Angelo, The American or both. Here’s wishing all of them the best of luck.

postheadericon Bios for the 2014 Timed Event field

DANIEL GREEN, Oakdale, Calif.

Daniel Green

Daniel Green

Daniel Green’s third Timed Event Championship of the World title was quite emotional for the California cowboy last March.

Green clinched gold buckle No. 3 with a gritty performance inside this amazing arena. He utilized his vast experience to overcome all the obstacles that came before him. In this unique, rugged slugfest, it takes something special to dig deep into the soul to pull off the championship. In all, the 41-year-old cowboy earned $52,000.

The first time Green claimed the Timed Event title was 2002. He followed it with another strong showing and the 2008 championship. But those are not the only times he’s shown success. Green, a 10-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, is a two-time winner of another Lazy E original, the World’s Greatest Roper. Nearly every time he leaves the Lazy E Arena, he’s holding a big paycheck.

Odds are he’ll do it again this year. Green has proven he’s a strong contender for the $50,000 first-place prize. You have the hottest ticket in Western sports, so you will know for sure when the smoke clears at the end of this magical weekend.

PAUL DAVID TIERNEY, Oral, S.D.

Paul David Tierney

Paul David Tierney

The lessons of a ProRodeo legend have been passed on to the next generation.

Proof comes in the form of Paul David Tierney, the youngest son of Paul Tierney, a ProRodeo Hall of Fame cowboy who owns four Timed Event Championship of the World titles. Last year, Paul David Tierney raced through the 25-head event in a cumulative time of 343.9 seconds to finish as the reserve champion.

In fact, the $25,000 he earned inside this arena last March marked the highest payday of his young career. He had joined older brother Jess as top finishers in the championship; Jess placed fifth a year ago.

After his solid run inside the Lazy E last March, Paul David made a solid run through ProRodeo. He won 16 event titles in 2013, eight of which were all-around crowns. In fact, he won both the all-around and heading championships at the Ram Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo.

The latter means as a header, Paul David Tierney will return to the Lazy E in a month to compete with Jared Bilby during the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. Most importantly, it’s further proof championship genetics continue to be a big part of the Tierney family.

K.C. JONES, Burlington, Wyo.

K.C. Jones

K.C. Jones

When K.C. Jones walks inside this hallowed hall, he feels at home. Of course, a five-time winner of this marvelous championship, it should feel like home.

Jones is one of just two men in the 29 years of this magnificent competition to have won at least five gold buckles in the Ironman of ProRodeo. The first time was 21 years ago, before the gray hair swept across head. He added Timed Event Championship of the World titles in 1996, 1999, 2001 and 2012.

This weekend’s festivities fit right into Jones’ wheelhouse. He can do all the events well, and 20-plus years of experience give him a distinct advantage when he backs into the box. Of course, he qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in two events, tie-down roping and team roping.

That was in 1991. The paychecks of that type are fewer than the early 1990s, but when he cashes checks, they’re pretty big. The last time he won this championship two seasons ago, he left with $57,000. A year ago, he placed fourth in the average and pocketed $10,000.

He knows what it takes to win, especially inside the fabulous Lazy E Arena. This three-day competition will be an interesting journey just to see what Jones has in store for 2014.

JESS TIERNEY, Hermosa, S.D.

Jess Tierney

Jess Tierney

The last time Jess Tierney played inside the Lazy E Arena, he fared very well.

The second-generation cowboy – whose father, Paul, is a ProRodeo Hall of Famer who owns four Timed Event Championship of the World titles – pocketed $22,616 while competing last November in the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping.

A three-time qualifier to that championship, Tierney won the ninth round and placed in four others. He finished 10th in the 2013 steer roping world standings. In all, he had quite a bit of success in central Oklahoma last season, including a fifth-place finish in both the average and fastest-round competition. In all, he left last year’s Timed Event with $10,500.

He’s ready to collect more this March. With a powerful pedigree coming from a World Champion father, Jess Tierney comes packed with a great understanding of what it takes to win at this level. He and his younger brother, Paul David, both placed among the top five at last year’s Timed Event, so they know it takes more than genetics to excel.

Jess Tierney is expecting big things to happen during this year’s championship. He’s proven he has the talent, and we know it’s just part of his legacy.

RUSSELL CARDOZA, Terrebonne, Ore.

Russell Cardoza

Russell Cardoza

Russell Cardoza has learned the Timed Event Championship’s true challenge lies between the ears of each of the contestants.

It’s easy to get down when things don’t go one’s way, but there’s not much time to dwell on it. Last March, Cardoza was steady through the first 19 runs, then he suffered his first 60-second run during steer roping in the fourth go-round; that was his only 60 of the competition, so he bounced back quite nicely on the final day.

When the dust settled, he finished sixth in the average and pocketed $5,000. It just wasn’t what he had hoped, especially after a runner-up finish in the 2012 Timed Event. But he’s back in the field again, and he’ll use every experience as he competes this weekend.

Cardoza is a three-time heeling qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, but last year he found success in multiple events. He finished the 2013 ProRodeo campaign with eight titles, five of which were for the all-around. In Chaney, Wash., Cardoza won the all-around, tie-down roping and team roping titles (with C.R. Wilken).

Now in his fifth year of competing in the “Ironman of ProRodeo,” Cardoza is ready to walk away from this arena with one of the most prestigious titles in the game. That’s why he’s here.

TRELL ETBAUER, Gruver, Texas

Trell Etbauer

Trell Etbauer

Just hearing the name Etbauer conjures up visions of tremendous cowboys and championship buckles.

Trell Etbauer is the next generation. Etbauer’s father, Robert, and two uncles, Billy and Dan, are saddle bronc riding legends, but 29-year-old Trell is making quite a mark himself. Over the course of his young career, Trell Etbauer has earned the Linderman Award four times for excelling in both timed and roughstock events.

Competing primarily in tie-down roping, steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding – where his dad (2) and uncle Billy (5) own multiple gold buckles – Trell is one of the top all-around cowboys in the sport. In 2008, the year in which he clinched his first Linderman Award, he was named the PRCA Resistol All-Around Rookie of the Year.

In his first appearance at the Timed Event Championship last March, the young Etbauer was in great position to walk away with the title, sitting second through four go-rounds. Though the “Ironman of ProRodeo” bug bit on the final day, he finished seventh in the average and earned $4,500.

What can you expect out of Year No. 2? Whatever happens, it certainly will be magical.

ERICH ROGERS, Round Rock, Ariz.

Erich Rogers

Erich Rogers

The taste Erich Rogers got at the Timed Event Championship last March must have been pretty good.

Rogers finished the 2013 “Ironman of ProRodeo” eighth in the average and pocketed $3,000. He definitely was in the hunt for one of the most prestigious, yet elusive, championships in the game.

For those who know the game, we’ve learned a lot about Rogers based on his experience inside this wonderful arena. A header by trade, he has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo each of the last three seasons. But he’s quite the hand and has done some amazing things in multiple events.

In fact, Rogers is considered an amazing pickup man, where so many of his roping and livestock talents come into play. Last season, he won eight titles at ProRodeos across this land, including the all-around and heading titles in Payson, Ariz.

When it’s time to go to work inside the Lazy E this weekend, look for Rogers to do his part to keep everything exciting.

JOJO LeMOND, Andrews, Texas

JoJo LeMond

JoJo LeMond

There’s just something special about JoJo LeMond.

Maybe it’s his west Texas personality. Maybe it’s a brilliant smile that shines under a wide brimmed hat. Maybe it’s that he’s a talented cowboy that likes to go fast.

When it all comes together inside the Lazy E Arena, LeMond is definitely a fan favorite in the “Ironman of ProRodeo.” He holds the record for the fastest heading run at the Timed Event Championship of the world, a 4.5-second run he posted in 2010. He had the heeling record until last season, when two-time reigning world champion Jade Corkill claimed it.

Above all else, LeMond is a true cowboy. He doesn’t just overcome obstacles in his path, he blasts through them. Last March inside this magnificent rodeo palace, the Andrews, Texas, hand put on a tremendous show and was in the thick of the championship until the midway point of the competition.

In 2013, he also qualified for the first time to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, where he put on another show. LeMond finished third in the average and pocked more than $21,500 in the process.

He’s proven himself in this arena. This might be the weekend to make a statement.

JOSH PEEK, Pueblo, Colo.

Josh Peek

Josh Peek

It’s been four years since Josh Peek drove away from the Lazy E Arena with the title from the Timed Event Championship of the World.

He’s ready to win this prestigious title again, and he owns all the tools it takes to stake claim to the $50,000 first-place check. Since he became a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association a dozen seasons ago, he’s been near the top of the leaderboard in the all-around standings.

In fact, the Colorado cowboy won the all-around title during the 2009 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where he is a six-time qualifier; he earned the right to play in Las Vegas starting in 2007, competing in tie-down roping and steer wrestling. He roped calves at the NFR three straight years, and he wrestled steers in 2007, ’09 and ’10.

Throw in the other timed-even disciplines, and he’s still pretty salty. In his years competing at this event, Peek has earned $102,000. And when it comes down to it, he’s just plain good at about anything he does. That’s why he won 10 all-around titles in 2013 and finished 11th in the all-around world standings.

This is a chance for him to prove among the very best that he can be a multiple Timed Event champ; it should be fun to watch him chase it.

CLAY SMITH, Broken Bow, Okla.

Clay Smith

Clay Smith

The pressure of Clay Smith’s first Timed Event Championship of the World had to be incredible. A late injury replacement to the exclusive field, the young cowboy from the extreme corner of southeastern Oklahoma arrived at the Lazy E Arena with a focused demeanor and a boatload of talent.

His stomach had to have been in knots. Smith was in the beginning stages of his rookie season in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and he got the call to play on one of the biggest stages in the game in the most unique and rugged event there is for timed-event cowboys.

But when the barrier line released, those jitters must have been gone, because Clay Smith held his own against an elite group of professional cowboys. The more runs he made, the more comfortable Smith got.

In fact, he posted a 50.1-second round on the final day to finish fourth in the fastest-rounds portion of the contest, pocketing $4,000. He earned more money than half the field, which is quite a statement for any first-timer to this challenging championship.

Clay Smith returns to this year’s Timed Event as a 22-year-old who got some amazing experience last March. He’s worked on his weaknesses and built on his strengths, so expect some good things to come from him this weekend.

CLAYTON HASS, Terrell, Texas

Clayton Hass

Clayton Hass

Nobody understands the true test that comes with competing in the Timed Event Championship of the World any better than Clayton Hass.

The Texas cowboy has so many tools that make him a favorite, but it just hasn’t worked out the way he had hoped. You see, this unique event has so many variables that can stand in the way of even the very best. With each passing year comes greater experience, so expect to see something big out of Hass this weekend.

He is listed as a tie-down roper, team roper and steer wrestler, but Clayton Hass is much more. He’s a true cowboy, and it’s that talent that has him returning to the “Ironman of ProRodeo each spring. It takes a good hand to train horses, then to use them the way they like to work. That’s Hass.

Last season, he won eight rodeo titles, four of which were in the all-around. At the Texas Stampede in Allen, Texas, he roped with Ryan Motes to win the team roping championship, then parlayed that into the all-around crown, too. He won in the mountains of Wyoming and Utah and along the southern tip of Texas.

He has earned the right to compete in this fabulous arena again this weekend. Now he wants to show you just how special he can be when the latch breaks and the cattle scurry onto the playing field.

DUSTIN BIRD, Cut Bank, Mont.

Dustin Bird

Dustin Bird

Dustin Bird has done some incredible things over the course of his career.

His showing at the 2013 Timed Event Championship of the World is the perfect showcase of that. Through three go-rounds of this amazingly tough competition, the Montana cowboy was sitting in the No. 2 position and just a couple of seconds behind the leader. Heading into the final day, Bird was in the top five.

Oh, and don’t forget this tidbit: That was Bird’s inaugural visit to the championship. How’s that for talented and gutsy?

Bird is the 2012 Canadian heading champion who has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo each of the past two seasons. This past December, he and partner Paul Eaves shared the seventh-round victory and placed on two other nights in Las Vegas. Bird has earned nearly $60,000 in Vegas money.

This weekend, he hopes to corral a nice Lazy E paycheck. He realizes there are plenty of challenges facing him, but he has the experiences that can help him to the prestigious buckle: He’s a three-time all-around champion at the Indian National Finals Rodeo.

As Justin McKee dubbed him a year ago, Dustin Bird is the roping sensation from the Blackfoot Nation; he’s ready to show it.

KYLE LOCKETT, Visalia, Calif.

Kyle Lockett

Kyle Lockett

Let’s face reality: Kyle Lockett wasn’t all that impressed with his run at the 2013 Timed Event Championship of the World.

The California cowboy scored a nice consolation prize of $6,000 for finishing runner-up in the fastest-round portion of the contest, a 46.5-second third go-round. But he finished 12th in the all-important average. That’s pretty hard on someone who expects better.

It’s harder on a man like Lockett, who has won this prestigious title twice before, in 2005 and ’11. He’s one of just four former champs in this year’s field and one of four who have won this title multiple times. Lockett understands better than most in this elite field what it takes to come through the “Ironman of ProRodeo” unscathed.

In his years competing in this arena, Lockett has earned $217,500. When you let that soak in, you realize that he has averaged a nice paycheck nearly every time he’s nodded his head on the south end of the Lazy E Arena.

What might be more impressive than his two gold buckles are the number of times he’s finished as the runner-up.

A seven-time qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Lockett is a big name in this big-time championship. He hopes that his legacy just continues to grow.

MIKE OUTHIER, Utopia, Texas

Mike Outhier

Mike Outhier

From the time he was a young cowboy, people in western Oklahoma knew there was something special and a little quirky about Mike Outhier.

He could rope with the best in the game, and he could ride better than most. In the mid-1990s, he competed in all six boys’ events at the International Youth Finals Rodeo in Shawnee, Okla.: tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. He easily won the all-around every year there.

In 1998 at 21 years of age, the Weatherford, Okla.-raised cowboy was named the PRCA Resistol Saddle Bronc Riding Rookie of the Year. He qualified in bronc riding for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo four straight season beginning in 2001. But he always was a true all-around cowboy, and he earned the Linderman Award in 2004 and ’07. He and Trell Etbauer are the first Linderman winners ever to compete in the Timed Event, and this is their second straight year in the field.

These days, though, Outhier makes his home in Utopia, Texas, and makes his living with a rope. He’s pretty good at it, too. He has the talent and the horsepower to make a strong showing in the “Ironman of ProRodeo,” and he’ll definitely make things interesting this weekend.

LANDON McCLAUGHERTY, Tilden, Texas

Landon McClaugherty

Landon McClaugherty

Landon McClaugherty was THIS close to making a big-time run at the most prestigious prize in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association: The all-around world championship.

A year ago at this time, the Texas roper was at or near the top of the heading world standings. He fell off a little to close out the season, but still finished the year 25th on the money list, just 10 spots away from making the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He also finished the season No. 19, barely missing out on his third qualification to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Rodeo.

What it reveals is a capacity and holding the necessary tools to make a run at this prestigious title. This weekend marks the fourth time McClaugherty has competed in the Timed Event Championship of the World, and all that experience should prove to be beneficial each time he backs into the roping box.

He needs to carry some of his 2013 momentum with him into this weekend. He finished the season 11th in the all-around standings, and over the course of the campaign, he earned 18 rodeo titles, 12 of which were in the all-around. In Lamar, Colo., he also added the team roping and tie-down roping crowns. He won steer roping in Amarillo, Texas, so the only discipline he didn’t win a title last season was steer wrestling.

That’s all the proof you need to realize just how talented the Texan is. Now McClaugherty wants to put this title on his resume, too.

SPENCER MITCHELL, Colusa, Calif.

Spencer Mitchell

Spencer Mitchell

All you had to do was watch the grimace on Spencer Mitchell’s face and the limp in his step to know how grueling the Timed Event Championship of the World can be.

Funny thing was, through all those struggles and the experience of pain, Mitchell was wearing a brilliant smile; the California cowboy was having a blast. That is an amazing statement for what a special championship this event is.

This weekend marks just the second time Mitchell has competed in the “Ironman of ProRodeo,” and he has high hopes for his sophomore campaign. He should, of course, because he’s that talented. He’s a two-time heading qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, roping in 2011 with the late Broc Cresta, then following that a year later with Dakota Kirchenschlager. He finished 2013 in the No. 21 position, so he remains one of the best in the business.

Mitchell has been around rodeo all his life and is the third generation of his family to compete in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. He is a winner at all levels, and two springs ago, he earned the team roping title at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo while competing with Brady Minor.

Mitchell knows the tests that will come his way in this arena this weekend, and he’s ready for them. He’s ready to shine.

BRYCE DAVIS, Abilene, Texas

Bryce Davis

Bryce Davis

If familiarity breeds contentment, Bryce Davis is in the right place at the right time.

Davis is a four-time qualifier to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, having played the championship game inside this fabulous arena in 2009-11 and 2013. In fact, he won the prestigious average championship the first year he qualified.

But it wasn’t the first time Davis had played inside the Lazy E Arena. After all, he spent a portion of his childhood in this storied building watching his father compete: Jim Davis won Steer Roping World Championships in 1985-85. But Bryce Davis is more than the son of a world champ. He’s a winner.

He’s won go-rounds at the NFSR and owns the arena record at the Ram National Finals Steer Roping in Torrington, Wyo., where he roped and tied a steer in 9.1 seconds.

How will he do this weekend? He will learn quickly all the variables that go into the “Ironman of ProRodeo,” and he will adjust. That’s when the true competitor comes out in the Texas cowboy, and that’s when magic happens.

Look for Davis to make quite a statement over the five go-rounds of this rugged test. It’s who he is. It’s what he does.

DAKOTA ELDRIDGE, Elko, Nev.

Dakota Eldridge

Dakota Eldridge

In 2013, Dakota Eldridge burst onto the national rodeo scene as one of the top 15 bulldoggers in the world, earning the Nevada cowboy his first qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

But those who are closest to him know Eldridge is more than a steer wrestler. Yes, Dakota Eldridge is a true all-around cowboy, who can win any title on any day. While competing in the Nevada High School Rodeo Association, he collected three all-around, two steer wrestling and one tie-down roping championships. He also was a two-time qualifier to the College National Finals Rodeo.

In 2011, while still competing on his PRCA permit, Eldridge won the all-around championship at the Ram Columbia River Circuit Finals Rodeo. The next year, he was the 2012 Resistol All-Around and Steer Wrestling Rookie of the Year.

The 22-year-old Nevadan put on a show in Las Vegas last December, winning the second round and placing in four others. He placed second in the average and earned more than $91,000 at the NFR. He moved from 15th to fifth in the final world standings.

It’s that type of competition that brings out the best in true champions. Eldridge is one of 20 of the greatest timed-event cowboys in the world, and he gets to show the world this weekend.

CODY DOESCHER, Oklahoma City

Cody Doescher

Cody Doescher

Cody Doescher is a pretty good pool player, but he’s a great cowboy.

This weekend marks his inaugural run at one of the most prestigious and storied competitions in rodeo, the Timed Event Championship of the World. Oh, and it happens to take place in the Fabulous Lazy E Arena, just a few miles from his Oklahoma City home.

Yeah, that’s a distinctive home-field advantage for the 2008 Moore High School graduate.

It’s here in the Sooner State that Doescher got his start and excelled at a young age. He won the National Junior Team Roping Championship in 2006 and earned two Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association team roping titles in 2007-08.

But the 23-year-old is more than a heeler. Oh, sure, he’s a regular among the top 50 in the world standings, but he also has been on the winning side of the equation in bulldogging, too. That helps set up the young cowboy quite well for this particular contest, where team ropers oftentimes struggle in steer wrestling.

Winners win, no matter the competition. That might mean as much to Doescher as that home-field advantage.

SHANK EDWARDS, Tatum, N.M.

Shank Edwards

Shank Edwards

Southeastern New Mexico is home of rugged terrain, and it takes quite a talented cowboy to handle the challenges that come with it.

That’s an outstanding indication of the ability Shank Edwards possesses. A tie-down roper and team roper, Edwards can do it all pretty well. In fact, he learned fundamentals from his grandfather, F.L. Hillhouse, a steer roper.

Here’s something else: Edwards began competing at 4 years of age, so he’s been at this game for 26 years. That’s pretty remarkable. He also has won some of the most prestigious rodeos in the game, from Hermiston, Ore., to Window Rock, Ariz., to Redding, Calif. In fact, he’s finished in the top 50 more than once, finishing as high as 21st in 2012.

What will he do inside the Lazy E Arena during his inaugural run at the Timed Event Championship of the World? It should be fun to see.

postheadericon Young leads Rangers to strong finish

ALVA, Okla. – Over the course of the last few months, the Northwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo team has focused on one major objective.

“We’ve been working on finishing,” said Stockton Graves, the program’s coach and a seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. “We’ve been working on finishing everything in the short rounds, because sometimes the short rounds bring out more nervousness. If you can handle the nerves, then you can finish better.”

Trey Young

Trey Young

The lessons are being learned, and the proof came last weekend during the Kansas State University rodeo in Manhattan, Kan.

“We’ve had a bunch of four-head matches, and we’d match roping against each other,” said Trey Young, a senior from Dupree, S.D., who won the tie-down roping title at K-State. “You focus on making your run and don’t worry about anyone else. When you come to that spot in the short round, then you can just worry about what you’ve got to do and not worry about anything else.

“I think I’ve done a better job finishing, and I think those matches really helped with that.”

Young won the first round with a 9.0-second run and led the contingent of five Northwestern tie-down ropers in the championship round. In fact, the Rangers finished as the top 4, with Young followed by Ryan Domer, a senior from Topeka, Kan.; Dalton Richards, a junior from Hawkinsville, Ga.; and Berk Long, a sophomore from Mutual, Okla. Junior Tee Hale of White Owl, S.D., finished eighth.

“I was very pleased and very proud of how well we did in Manhattan,” Graves said, noting that the Northwestern men finished second with 610 points, just 30 points behind the winner, Southwestern Oklahoma State University. “We had a lot of kids do very good.”

It’s true. In fact, the tandem of header Parker Warner and heeler Dustin Searcy won the team roping title; Warner is a junior from Jay, Okla., and Searcy is a Mooreland, Okla., sophomore. They were joined in the short round by Richards, who finished second in heading, and heeler Chase Boekhaus of Rolla, Kan., placed third.

Domer and Hale joined Mitchell Gardner, a senior from Dover, Okla., in the 10-man steer wrestling field for the short go-round. Domer placed fifth, followed directly by Gardner and Hale.

Micah Samples, one of the top women’s all-around cowgirls in the Central Plains Region, finished eighth in team roping, where she was a header. Two other Northwestern women, breakaway ropers Kelsey Pontius and Erika Leveille, finished among the top 10 and earned points. Pontius is a junior from Watsontown, Pa., and Leveille is a freshman from Innisfail, Alberta.

The good weekend has served as strong motivation for the team members to have a successful spring campaign, which consists of seven rodeos. Next on the list is a trip to the Garden City (Kan.) Community College rodeo, set for Feb. 28-March 2.

“This is a great deal for us,” Young said of the solid run at K-State. “It always helps to get those points. It’s good to do well individually, but it’s even better to have the team go with you.

“We went from not evening thinking about the region title to putting ourselves right into the hung. There is no doubt we have a lot of talented guys. There are a lot of points to be had this spring, and there is no question in my mind that we can come out on top in the end.”

postheadericon Mote leads list of elite cowboys

GUTHRIE, Okla. – Bobby Mote is one of the most decorated bareback riders in ProRodeo history.

Bobby Mote

Bobby Mote

The Oregon cowboy owns four world championships and 13 straight qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He also has found competing in central Oklahoma to his liking. You see, Mote has won two of the last three bareback riding national championships right here in the Sooner State.

He returns to the action at this year’s Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, scheduled for 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10; 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 11; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12. Mote, who represents the Columbia River Circuit, joins 23 other regional champions that have qualified to compete at ProRodeo’s National Championship, the home of year-end and circuit finals champions from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s 12 circuits.

That field includes a who’s who of bareback riding greats, including other NFR qualifiers Joe Gunderson, Austin Foss, Casey Colletti, Wes Stevenson and Caleb Bennett. They have a truckload of talent to the Lazy E, which for 30 years has been one of the most prestigious arenas in the sport.

Combined, those cowboys represent nearly 30 NFR qualifications. That’s proof of the shear talent that’s coming to one of the most prestigious rodeos in the sport’s history.

postheadericon Carr animals excel in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Big Tex has earned a lot of accolades in his years as one of the best bucking horses in professional rodeo.

Wade Sundell

Wade Sundell

He added another this weekend, being named the top saddle bronc at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, the reigning Indoor Rodeo of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. On Saturday night, Big Tex guided Wade Sundell to the bronc riding title as the two matched moves for 90 points, the highest score posted in the championship round.

“It’s quite an honor for us and for Big Tex,” said Pete Carr, owner of the Dallas-based livestock firm. “That award usually goes to a horse that has bucked more than once in San Antonio, so for Big Tex to get that award says a lot about how well he performed.”

Cort Scheer

Cort Scheer

Yes, it was. It marked the second straight year that Big Tex has guided a cowboy to the San Antonio championship – Tyler Corrington won the title in 2013. It also marked the second straight year that Sundell has scored big points on the 14-year-old bay gelding; they matched moves for 91 points last spring as the Iowa cowboy won the title in Houston.

But Big Tex wasn’t the only Carr bronc to have a strong Saturday night in the Alamo City. Spur Strap guided Cort Scheer to 87 points in the final round; Scheer finished in a tie for third place.

In bareback riding, Scarlett’s Web matched moves with Jake Vold and Fancy Free danced with three-time reigning world champion Kaycee Feild for 88 points to finish in a three-way tie with Steven Peebles for the short-round title. Tilden Hooper placed in a tie for fourth place with an 84-point ride on Good Time Charlie.

On Friday night, Carr animals were big-time performers during the final semifinals round of the tournament-style rodeo. Former bareback riding world champion Justin McDaniel won the round in with an 85-point ride on Night Bells, while two-time world titlist Cody Wright posted an 86 on Sweet Maria.

“It was an excellent weekend for us,” Carr said. “On Saturday, they had a special ceremony for Travis, who is retiring after fighting bulls in San Antonio for a long time.”

Travis Adams is the operations manager for Pete Carr Pro Rodeo.

“It was a great deal and very emotional,” Carr said. “I’m really glad they did that for Travis.”

postheadericon Cowboys win opening leg of race

The season 24 premier of the CBS-TV reality series “The Amazing Race” was aptly titled, “Back in the Saddle.”

Ranch-raised brothers Jet and Cord McCoy battled the opening episode of the 12-week series in a comfortable place in the race around the world for the $1 million first-place prize. When they arrived at the finish line of the first leg, they were greeted by host Phil Keoghan near the Guangzhou (China) Opera House.

“Cowboys, you’re back for the third time, and it’s starting well,” Keoghan told the McCoys. “You’re team No. 1.”

Jet, left, and Cord McCoy have found a lot of fame on the CBS-TV reality series "The Amazing Race," including their term a few years ago as grand marshals to the Calgary Stampede Parade a few years ago. The brothers are on the race for a third time, and during the Season 24 premier, won the opening leg of the race for $1 million.

Jet, left, and Cord McCoy have found a lot of fame on the CBS-TV reality series “The Amazing Race,” including their term a few years ago as grand marshals to the Calgary Stampede Parade a few years ago. The brothers are on the race for a third time, and during the Season 24 premier, won the opening leg of the race for $1 million.

Season 24 is dubbed the series’ All-Star Edition and features the fan favorites that have been part of the program over the last dozen years. The McCoys were joined at the starting line in Los Angeles by 10 other teams. They ended the opening leg of the race atop the leaderboard and set a strong tone for the remaining weeks of the show. Their victory also earned the McCoys an Express Pass, which will enable them to skip a single task in order to advance through the race more rapidly.

They also received a second Express Pass that they must pass along to another team before the end of the fifth leg.

“We’re running our own race,” Cord said. “We have two Express Passes for doing our own thing.”

But his brother was a little more cautious.

“It’s a good thing we have the Express Pass,” Jet said, “but I’d just as soon not give the other one away.”

The series started with a bit of a twist. One team, William “Bopper” Minton and Mark Jackson, suffered a loss when Minton was found to be too ill to compete. He was replaced by Mallory Ervin, who had competed in Season 16 with her father, Gary. Mallory Ervin and Jackson were left to learning about themselves while racing around the world.

While standing at a football/track stadium with the UCLA marching band in the background, the teams were instructed to find the symbols of Guangzhou on the hats of band members.

The task got a little more challenging while the band began to march in patterns, but the McCoys were second to the podium, just behind the Afghanamals, Leo Temory and Jamal Zadran. The first few teams earned the right to board the first plane from LA to China. Once there, the teams had to find their way to the Guangzhou’s Street of Wedding Dresses, which has the largest collection of wedding gowns in south China, and were to find one of three stores for the next clue. While the other teams took cabs, The Cowboys found the metro station.

“This is going to work out really good or really bad,” Cord said. “I definitely hope this is the express train to the Express Pass.”

How prophetic. Once on the metro, the McCoys burst into first place and never relinquished. They found the clues at the dress shops first, then traveled to the 1,968-foot Canton Tower, home of the world’s highest Ferris wheel.

“If you’re going to go off on the race by yourself, you’ve got to have a little bit of confidence,” Cord said. “We can just run our own race and not worry about what everybody else is doing.”

It was in the bubbles/cars that the next clues were to be found, though the brothers quickly learned that not all the Ferris wheel had clues. In fact, in their first location, Cord and Jet found the words, “Try Again.” They had to wait a long time for the Ferris wheel to make its way around.

“Every direction is nothing but city,” Jet said as the tandem made their way around the slow circle. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”

The brothers were raised on ranchland outside the tiny southeastern Oklahoma town of Tupelo, which has a population of 331. Guangzhou has a population of about 14 million. The slow ride atop the Canton Tower afforded The Cowboys a way to step way outside their comfort zone, but it wouldn’t be their last time on this season’s race.

Once they made the round, the McCoys boarded another car and found the next clue, which took them to Haixinsha Stadium, host of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Asian Games. One member from each team had to go up 300 feet to the top of the stadium tower, then be suspended in the air by two wires extended from the hips, then do five back flips.

“That’s all you,” Jet told Cord, his younger brother by 13 months.

“You talk about close your eyes and flip,” Cord said as they ran to the staging area.

When Cord exited the staging area for the tower, he was wearing a red and yellow jumpsuit with fringes while also donning a special harness underneath the jumpsuit.

“I like it,” Jet said, jabbing his baby brother. “Those were your colors … the yellow and the red with the flames.”

As Cord ascended the tower via an elevator, he told his Chinese aids, “At least I’ll have time to say a long prayer on the way down.”

Obviously, the ride up was a tad bit uncomfortable for Cord, a rodeo champion like Jet and most others in his family.

“I don’t like walking around on the top of towers or anything like that, but both Jet and I have been put out of our comfort zones in the race, and we almost expect that,” Cord said. “So even though you’re 300 feet in the air with two little bitty wires and a sweet suit I got, you’ve just got to do it. There’s not an option B.”

As the wires were being attached to the harness, Jet yells, “Holy cow. Hang on, little bother.”

Cord replies, “Hey, brother man, I think this town likes heights.”

The newly married couple of Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly finished second, followed by the father-son tandem of Dave and Connor O’Leary. The Twinnies, Natalie and Nadiya Anderson, finished last and were eliminated.

The second leg of “The Amazing Race” will begin with The Cowboys holding a substantial lead. Can they hold on to it, or will it slip out of their hands through the challenges that come with a race boasting of a million-dollar prize for the winner.

postheadericon The first prediction of 2014

I’m going out on a limb, and I know it, but there come times when one must make bold predictions. Here is mine for the 2014 ProRodeo season:

Sage Kimzey

Sage Kimzey

Sage Kimzey of Strong City, Okla., is going to win the Resistol Bull Riding Rookie of the Year.

Yeah, it’s a big limb, I know.

Heading into this week, the 19-year-old cowboy was second in the world standings with about $23,000. He nearly tripled that over the course of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, where he won both the bull riding title and the Xtreme Bulls-San Antonio championship. His total payout in the Alamo City was $40,000.

That’s pretty impressive, and as long as he stays healthy and can continue to ride well, he’s well on his way to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December. Heck, he’s well on his way to the world championship, where he’ll hold a substantial lead when the bean counters in Colorado Springs put everything together Monday.

He’s a good young man from a great family, and I’ve enjoyed watching him over the last year, one that included him setting the earnings record for permit-holders. Now he’s well on his way to that coveted gold buckle.

postheadericon Broadcasting’s best in San Antone

Ted Harbin TwisTED Rodeo

Ted Harbin
TwisTED Rodeo

Steve Kenyon of Pro Rodeo Live is broadcasting from the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, and, as always, he does an amazing job.

Tonight he’s joined by another good friend of mine, Rob Matthews, who operates Pro Rodeo Roundup. Both men are winners of the PRCA Media Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism; Kenyon won in 2009, and Matthews in 2013.

I’m looking forward to listening this broadcast. With their knowledge and understanding of our sport, they’re perfect fits for this show. They are offered the opportunity to call one of the PRCA’s best rodeos. This evening’s show is filled with rodeo’s elite, and there are some amazing match-ups.

This is a brilliant chance for you to keep track of the goings on in the Alamo City. Tune in online HERE and enjoy.

postheadericon Cowboys return to ‘Amazing Race’

The Cowboys are back.

Brothers Jet and Cord McCoy return to prime-time television for Season 24 of the reality series “The Amazing Race,” which airs at 7 p.m. Central Sundays on CBS-TV. The All-Star Edition’s premier is this Sunday, Feb. 23.

“We continually hear from fans that they want their favorites back, and we listened to them,” host Phil Keoghan said in a recent CBS interview.

The brothers, who live near the tiny southeastern Oklahoma community of Tupelo, finished second in Season 16 of the reality program; they were knocked out of the competition after nine weeks during Season 18. During the two spring seasons, the cowboys were recognized as fan favorites, which is why they were invited to be part of the All-Star Edition.

Jet, left, and Cord McCoy are part of Season 24 of 'The Amazing Race,' subtitled the All-Star Edition. This is the third time on the show for The Cowboys. (PHOTO COURTESY OF CBS-TV)

Jet, left, and Cord McCoy are part of Season 24 of ‘The Amazing Race,’ subtitled the All-Star Edition. This is the third time on the show for The Cowboys. (PHOTO COURTESY OF CBS-TV)

“The Globetrotters, The Cowboys, The Twinnies … they’re all here,” Bertram Van Munster, the show’s co-creator and executive producer, told CBS.

The McCoys are one of 11 teams to race around the world for the $1 million first-place prize. Along the way, they will face challenges through the various legs of the race. Typically the first team to conclude a leg of the race earns a prize, while last team is subject to elimination. The team that completes the final leg of the race first will be crowned champion.

The Cowboys join The Globetrotters, Herb “Flight Time” Lang and Nate “Big Easy” Lofton, and the mother-son tandem of Margie O’Donnell and Luke Adams as three-time racers – each team also was part of Season 18, “Unfinished Business.”

“When they called, they asked if my brother was with me, and it just so happened that me and Jet were gathering cattle together that day,” said Cord, 33, a five-time International Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association champion who qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals before retiring from competitive rodeo last year.

“We almost fell off our horses. It was flattering to say that of the 23 seasons of ‘The Amazing Race,’ and for them to call two little old cowboys to ask if we’d do it again, it was an honor.”

The brothers, born just 13 months apart, grew up together on the family’s ranch. While competing on the rodeo circuit, they were traveling partners and each other’s greatest competition. Jet, 34, also owns five IPRA titles. He ranches with his wife, Ashlee, and their 6-year-old daughter, Ti Silver.

“I was a little hesitant to start with, because it’s a big sacrifice to take off and be gone about a month,” Jet said. “But I don’t know how many chances at a million dollars you get, so it wasn’t too much of a thought to go ahead and do it.

“We were very hungry to try to do well this time since we felt like we left something on the table the last time we were on the show.”

After such a successful run in their inaugural race around the world, the McCoys were a little disappointed at their Week 9 exit during Season 18.

“I think me and Cord are both competitors, so it’s a matter of going out and proving it,” Jet said.

They intend to prove it the McCoy way, which means focusing on their own race and not concerning themselves with the gamesmanship that can come with reality shows like “The Amazing Race.”

“Jet and I are pretty good about not worrying about what everybody else is doing,” said Cord, who lives near Tupelo with his wife, Sara. “We’ve got enough stuff on our plate already to worry about whether another team is going to roadblock you or give you the wrong information.

“When we start each leg of the race, if we don’t make mistakes and can go as fast as we can, I think we’ll be OK. It’s a thinking game, and you’ve got to think your way through it. If you do that, we may not win first, but it’s not because of worrying about others. We’ve just got to run our own race.”

Each challenge requires a new set of tools, but the McCoys utilize a back-to-basics approach.

“Most of the stuff you have to work through on the race, me and Cord’s already worked that out,” Jet said, referring to the siblings’ level of communication and trust. “We don’t have to stop and visit about much at all, because we normally know what the other one’s thinking. I think it’s a big advantage, just the two of us being that close.”

Now The Cowboys will spend time with family as they watch Season 24 of “The Amazing Race.”

“The most fun about the first two races we did was come home and sit down and watch the race with your family and friends,” Cord said.

His brother agrees.

“That’s what makes it fun, really, is getting to spend that time with my family and friends,” Jet said.

The fun starts Sunday night.

postheadericon Yost, Young fulfill RNCFR pact

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story appears in the March edition of Women’s Pro Rodeo News, the official publication of the WPRA.

Through the rigors of the 2013 ProRodeo season, Nikki Yost and Taylor Young made a pact to qualify together for the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

“I couldn’t be going with someone better than Nikki,” said Young, of Carlisle, Pa. “I think we had two of the best horses in our circuit.”

They did, and they came out as the top two cowgirls in the First Frontier Circuit and will represent their region at ProRodeo’s national championship, set for April 10-12 at the Lazy E Arena near Guthrie, Okla.

RNCFR_2014wCities-NEWEST-smallerYoung went to the First Frontier finale in Harrisburg, Pa., as the No. 1 cowgirl in the standings. During the three-round championship, Yost and Redhot Peso placed time and won the average. That $4,069 served as a slingshot for Yost to surpass her good friend for the year-end championship.

“My whole game plan when I came to the finals was to win the average so I could go to Guthrie, Okla.,” said Yost, who lives with her header husband, Justin Yost, in Mt. Morris, Pa. “That was my goal all season to make it to the (Ram) Finals.

“I wasn’t nervous at all. I just wanted to go in there and make clean runs and ask my horse for everything he had. He actually didn’t have the prettiest barrels, but it worked.”

Yes, it did. Yost and Peso, an 11-year-old sorrel gelding by Redhot Pursuit out of Indian Passion, placed second in the first and third rounds and added a fourth-place finish in the middle round. Their 44.14-second cumulative total earned the tandem the average title.

“I’ve been having trouble just riding my horse and keeping three rodeos in a row clean, so that was my goal for the circuit finals,” she said. “I was just trying to stay away from the barrels, and he succeeded on that.”

Yost wasn’t the only one to make three clean runs. Jennifer Oberg of Piles Grove, N.J., placed second in the average with a cumulative time of 44.35 seconds, while Allison Serio of Kennett Square, Pa., (45.18) and Rogena Richard of Middleburg, Pa., (45.30) rounded out the top four.

“I try not to look at the standings when I go into stuff like this,” Yost said. “I’m just going to try let the chips fall the way they’re supposed to fall.

“Winning the (year-end) really hasn’t set in. It was just amazing. My husband gave me a big old hug. I was just worried about Taylor getting in.”

So was Young, who found the roses among the thorns that came with her run at the circuit finals. Riding Kissmyskooter, a 14-year-old sorrel gelding out of Bubbling Idiot by Elans Playboy, Young tipped a barrel in both the first and third rounds. Meanwhile, her 14.15-second, second-round winning run set an arena record. Plus, with Yost winning both the year-end and average titles, it allowed Young the automatic qualification to the RNCFR by finishing second in the year-end standings.

“I had a great finals, but I didn’t have my fairytale ending,” Young said. “When the third round ended, Nikki came up to me and said she was so sorry. I said, ‘What do you mean? You saved my butt.’ ”

At least it secured the pact that Yost and Young had established several months ago. The two Pennsylvanians didn’t actually know one another until a year ago, when Yost was living in Texas. She noticed that Young was scheduled to compete in Fort Worth, Texas, so she contacted her fellow East Coast cowgirl.

“I just said, ‘If you need a place to stay, you’re welcome here,’ ” said Yost, a Connecticut transplant who lived in Texas for nearly seven years before returning to the East Coast. “I was just trying to be a friendly face for someone from up north previously. From that day on, we’ve been great friends.

“Before she runs, I cheer her on, and when I run, she cheers for me. Even when she creams me, I always root for her.”

The 2013 season marked Yost’s inaugural run in the First Frontier Circuit. Although she had grown up in Connecticut, she and her husband quickly made their home in Texas while he tried to chase his gold buckle dreams in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

“Justin was trying to make his career heading,” Yost said. “With his partners in the rig all the time, Peso and my backup horse had to sit at home all summer long. He’s a header, so when his good horse got hurt, we just came home. He wanted to learn his dad’s business and get some more head horses gathered up.

“Since we were moving back East, my horse has proven himself consistently, placing with some of the big girls. I couldn’t see myself selling him, so I decided to see about making a name for ourselves on the East Coast. One of my goals was to win the circuit finals average, and I succeeded at that; my next goal was to make the RNCFR.”

Mission accomplished. Of course, goals are always adjusted; so are plans.

“I would love to make the run for the NFR, but I don’t know when I’m going to be able to do that,” Yost said. “I don’t know if I’m going to get that opportunity on Peso, but I have high expectations for his full brother. I will probably try on him.”

Bently is a 2-year-old sorrel stud. Will he turn out to be as solid as his big brother? That remains to be seen, but Yost is willing to see what happens. Of course, she’s following her dreams in a special way.

“If I could ride about 20 head of horses and ride all day, that’s where you can find me,” she said. “I’m blessed with my job of taking care of horses.”

That’s what it means to be a cowgirl, and nobody understands that as much as Young, who was raised around horses in central Pennsylvania.

“God had a plan, because when I set a goal this year that I wanted to make the Ram finals, I didn’t know if it was going to happen,” said the young cowgirl, who is attending a private college online and is preparing for a move to southern Oklahoma. “This was my second year in the WPRA and my second year making the circuit finals. I think one of the cool things was that I tied the arena record last year, then I beat the arena record this year.”

It all points to many things, most of which concerning the brightness that resides in barrel racing’s future. It’s nice to know she has something great in Skooter.

“He’s such a diva,” Young said. “He’s laid back, and he knows it, too. He’s easy. He’s my one in a million. He’s pretty cool. My second go-round, I told the girls, ‘I’m coming for you.’ After tipping a barrel in the first round, I was coming back with a vengeance.”

She did, and that $1,252 round-winning paycheck came at the right place and the right time. She visited with her ailing grandfather after that and presented him with the championship buckle. Young said she has great family support and that she’s been able to take between 18 and 20 hours a semester while competing on the rodeo trail because of her drive to succeed and the family’s status as her greatest support system.

“Rodeo is a way of life, and it’s not easy,” she said. “I have a lot of people that make my dreams possible.”

All that’s left is chasing those dreams, but that’s what cowgirls do best.