Archive for April, 2014

postheadericon McCoys slide into second on ‘Race”

Cord McCoy poses with two monks wearing cowboy hats at La Badia Monastery while his brother, Jet, completes the Road Block during the eighth leg of "The Amazing Race" All-Star Edition, which aired Sunday, April 20. (CBS PHOTO)

Cord McCoy poses with two monks wearing cowboy hats at La Badia Monastery while his brother, Jet, completes the Road Block during the eighth leg of “The Amazing Race” All-Star Edition, which aired Sunday, April 20. (CBS PHOTO)

In an episode that featured “The Amazing Race” teams riding equines, The Cowboys skipped past that challenge and ventured on to a second-place finish Sunday, April 20.

Holding an Express Pass they had earned on the opening leg of the race around the world for $1 million, Jet and Cord McCoy knew they had to use the pass on the eighth episode per the rules of the CBS-TV reality series. Sunday’s episode featured a double U-Turn, in which two teams could make two others complete both tasks of a Detour.

“We want to U-Turn The Cowboys, because it will force them to use their Express Pass,” said Brendon Villeges, who is teamed with his wife, Rachel Reilly.

Cowboy brothers Jet, left, and Cord McCoy get lost during the eight leg of the race, which took them through Italy on the All-Star edition of "The Amazing Race." (CBS PHOTO)

Cowboy brothers Jet, left, and Cord McCoy get lost during the eight leg of the race, which took them through Italy on the All-Star edition of “The Amazing Race.” (CBS PHOTO)

The Brenchals won the seventh leg and began the latest episode first, 52 minutes ahead of the McCoys, ranch-raised cowboys from the southeastern Oklahoma hamlet of Tupelo.

“It’s the eighth leg, so we have to use the Express Pass,” Jet McCoy said. “Having that Express Pass is huge.”

“It’s a lifeline,” his brother said.

Six teams began at Piazza Del Popolo in Rome and traveled 80 miles to the remote city of Ciovita Di Bagnoregio, where they faced the Detour. At Donkey Run, each team member had to ride a donkey around a circle track three times before the band completed a song; the other puzzle on the Detour was Donkey Build, in which teams had to assemble a fabricated donkey by using all the parts provided.

“With the U-Turn ahead, I’d say we go ahead and use the Express Pass, jump ahead of the other teams so we don’t have to do the other side,” Cord McCoy said.

Villeges and Reilly held the lead through their portion of the Detour, but the father-son tandem of Dave and Connor O’Leary were close behind. The McCoys used their Express Pass on the Donkey Build.

“If we get U-Turned, we’ll do the other side,” Jet McCoy said, noting the other option was riding donkeys; that would have played well into their hands.

The Brenchals then reached the U-Turn placard first, and instead of The Cowboys, they assigned the double-task to the O’Learys. When the father-son team arrived, they were just ahead of the McCoys.

It seemed as though the brothers’ fate was sealed, but fate is a mysterious creature. The O’Learys elected to U-Turn The Afghanamals, Leo Temory and Jamal Zadran.

“How did we slide by that?” Jet McCoy asked.

“I don’t know,” Cord McCoy answered. “Good job.”

Maybe the O’Learys looked at the task remaining ahead of The Cowboys and realized the McCoys were going to be hard to beat when it came to riding Donkeys. Villeges and Reilly saw the O’Learys as the only threat to a win on the eighth leg.

“I can’t believe Brendon and Rachel U-Turned Dave and Connor,” Jet McCoy said. “That makes zero sense to me. Leg eight, and it looks like people are starting to play dirty.”

The Road Block found the teams at La Badia Monastery in Orvieto, Italy, where one team member had to make a perfect copy of a page from an ancient manuscript just like the monks did for centuries. Jet McCoy took the task for the brothers.

“How do I keep getting arts and crafts here?” he asked. “I have terrible penmanship. This makes me nervous.”

While his older brother was tending to his duties, Cord McCoy took time to enjoy his surroundings. Two monks seemed particularly interested in the goings-on.

“I have some monk friends here in town,” Cord McCoy said, noting that two monks were wearing the McCoys’ cowboy hats. “We hang out, and they wear hats. I think they want to be cowboys.”

Though he sounded as though he struggled, Jet McCoy finished the task in his second attempt. The brothers were the second team to complete the task and venture toward the Pit Stop at Piazza Del Duomo in Orvieto.

Villeges and Reilly were the first to arrive at the finnish, followed by the McCoys, Temory and Zadran, the O’Learys and the country singers, Jennifer Wayne and Caroline Cutbirth. The Globetrotters, Herb Lang and Nate Lofton, finished sixth and were eliminated.

This season marks the third time The Cowboys have been part of “The Amazing Race.” Their appearance in the Sunday, April 27, episode of the reality TV series will mark the 30th leg in which the brothers have competed. The McCoys finished second the first time they were on the show in 2010, then placed sixth a year later.

They’re in the top five heading into the final four episodes of the marathon for $1 million.

postheadericon Organizers looks to give to youth


GROESBECK, Texas – Bobby Joe Hill is not a man who believes in the status quo.

Hill, owner of Hill Rodeo Cattle, has teamed with Cody Gantt to produce the Wild West Championships, set for Friday, May 23-Monday, May 26, at the Limestone County Fairgrounds in Groesbeck.

“We had a good start last year, so we wanted to build on that,” said Hill, who will utilize the event to help raise scholarship money for area youth. “We had a lot more time to do the planning this year, so we’ve added some things to it to make it a better experience.”

Enter Gantt, who is working closely with Hill to make sure this year’s event goes off well.

“We’re branching off on something Bobby Joe did last year,” Gantt said. “We wanted to do something more than that, which is why we came up with the scholarships. The main reason we’re doing this is to give the scholarships.”

The Wild West Championships will feature three full days of Western events, from USTRC-sanctioned team ropings – including an invitational open roping and an all-girls event – to invitational-only events in both steer roping and the ranch rodeo.

“All of the winners will get paid shootouts to the USTRC World Finals in Oklahoma City, and we’ve also set the barrier to the same length as the World Series,” Hill said, noting that most of the USTRC-sanctioned events will feature an 80 percent payback. “I think all those things combined will help us with the number of contestants we have.

“I think the people who like this are really going to enjoy it, because all the teams will have a lot to rope for.”

The weekend begins with competitors in the Nos. 13 and 12 divisions on Friday, May 23, with Nos. 11, 10 and 9 roping Saturday, May 24. The Sunday, May 25, showcase will feature the All Girls Team roping, followed by the Texas 10-Header Open Team Roping (limited to 50 teams) and the Invitational Ranch Rodeo (limited to 20 teams). The festivities conclude Monday, May 26, with the Invitational Steer Roping followed by the No. 8 team roping (with a 70 percent payback).

“We’re hoping to continue to grow this, because I think it’s going to be a great thing,” Hill said. “We wanted to add the all-girls roping, and I think that’s going to be a successful event this year.”

In addition to the cash prizes, there are buckles, saddles, trailers and other awards that will be passed out over the course of the four-day showcase.

“We’ve got some great sponsors who are part of this already, but we have room for more,” he said. “We want this to be a great event for the contestants, but we also want the fans to really enjoy the show. Groesbeck has an amateur rodeo, but we don’t get to see the big-name professional cowboys. I’ve talked to the guys, and they say they’re going to support this event.

“That means our local fans can stay here and watch these guys instead of having to travel 100 miles or more to see them. I think the fans will really enjoy that part of it, too.”

Gantt echoed those sentiments.

“This is not just a team roping event, but that will be a big attraction, too,” he said. “We’re having a ranch rodeo, and there are a lot of local ranchers who will be part of it and others that will just enjoy it. Our open team roping will draw a lot of the big names, the ones that most people don’t get to see around here very often. On Monday we’ll have the steer roping, and the best guys should be here for that.

“There will be a lot of great things for fans to see.”

The main purpose is giving back to area youth.

“My goal is to raise enough money so we can give a lot of money away in scholarships,” Hill said. “We want to continue to grow this so it’s something we can do every year.”

postheadericon Barnes makes big move for Rangers

ALVA, Okla. – When Lauren Barnes arrived in Weatherford, Okla., last weekend for the Southwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo, she was intent on winning the women’s all-around title.

“I think I really had a chance, but the draw didn’t help me very much,” said Barnes, a junior at Northwestern Oklahoma State University from Buckeye, Ariz.; she finished No. 2 in the all-around race. “In breakaway roping, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a calf that ran that fast (in the championship round). That made it difficult to do anything in breakaway.

Northwestern-Logo-200“My first calf ran, too, but I’m glad I have a horse that can really run.”

Barnes finished seventh in breakaway roping and fourth in goat tying. That helped her to 135 points, which moved her to the runner-up position in the all-around, just behind Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s Randi Buchanan.

More importantly, she helped the Northwestern women’s team to a third-place finish in Weatherford. She joined Micah Samples of Abilene, Kan., to secure 195 team points – Samples finished fifth in breakaway roping. Northwestern sits second in the season standings with just two rodeos remaining on the 2013-14 schedule: this coming weekend in Hays, Kan., then the final weekend in Guymon, Okla.

“This region is really tough,” Barnes said. “You have to have your game face on every weekend. My plan was to win the all-around this weekend. I was just happy, because our team needed some points.”

Barnes needs points, too. She is off the pace to qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo in June.

“It was very important for me to do well,” she said. “I had some tough luck in Durant (the weekend before); I drew a calf that ran left, and my goat didn’t cooperate very well either. I knew I needed some points, so I was kind of angry at myself. At Weatherford, I went out there and did what I wanted to do.

“These next two rodeos, I plan on getting some points. I’ve got some ground to make up, but I’m going work on it.”

While the Rangers women sit comfortably in second place in the Central Plains Region – only the top two teams advance to the college finals – there is a sense of urgency in the final two weeks of the regular season.

“I think we need all of our girls on the team to get points this week, for sure, and I’d like to see it the week after that,” Barnes said. “I think the girls can do it. They have a lot of heart and determination to get it done. They want it bad.

“I have faith in every single girl that’s on that team. They have the try, and they definitely have the talent.”

The Northwestern men had three cowboys qualify for the final round in Weatherford: steer wrestlers Stephen Culling (third) of Fort St. John, British Columbia, and Brock White (fourth) of Earlville, Iowa; and tie-down roper Trey Young (seventh) of Dupree, S.D. The men’s team is fourth in the region and needs to make up ground over the final two weekends.

That’s something coach Stockton Graves has been working on all season with both teams.

“What I really like about having Stockton as a coach is that he’s been there and done that,” she said, noting that Graves is a seven-time steer wrestling qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. “He knows how we need to practice to get it done. He knows how to put us in those situations where you have pressure on you so you can perform when you get to the rodeos.”

postheadericon Champs a big part of sale


Paul Tierney knows what it means to have a high quality performance horse.

In his lifetime, Tierney has utilized great horses on the ranch and at rodeos all across this land. You see, he’s a two-time world champion from Oral, S.D., having earned the tie-down roping title in 1979 and the coveted all-around gold buckle a season later. In 2008, he was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

Paul Tierney

Paul Tierney

But his admiration for performance horses runs even deeper, and he sees the need for many others who can benefit from the powerful equines. That’s why he is working with Nate Morrison of The Breeders Connection to produce the Champions Select Performance Horse Sale, set for Monday, May 12, on The preview will begin Monday, May 5, on the website.

“I believe there are a lot of people out there who have never been exposed to a better horse,” said Tierney, whose sons, Jess and Paul David, are among the elite cowboys on the rodeo trail today. “You’re going to be able to subject yourself to possibly buying this horse. Somebody from California who wants to rope calves but has never been exposed to my horses will now have that exposure.”

Clay O'Brien Cooper

Clay O’Brien Cooper

Tierney is just one of several legendary horsemen who are part of this sale, joining several elite cowboys from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, including world champions like Clay O’Brien Cooper, Jake Barnes, Rope Meyers and Jhett Johnson. They will be joined by National Finals Rodeo qualifiers Beau Franzen, Bill Parker, Kyle Lockett and Cody Cowden, as well as Jess Tierney, a three-time qualifier to the National Finals Steer Roping.

Cooper and Barnes were the marquee tandem in team roping for many years, earning seven world championships in the 1980s-90s. Cooper, a heeler, has qualified for the NFR 27 times, while his longtime partner, Barnes, has 25 appearances on ProRodeo’s biggest stage.

Jhett Johnson

Jhett Johnson

Meyers qualified for the NFR seven times and earned the gold buckle in 2001; he followed in the footsteps of his world champion father, Butch, who won steer wrestling gold in 1980. Johnson, a heeler, won the world title in 2011 during his fifth NFR qualification.

Parker qualified for the finals in both tie-down roping and team roping, while Cowden and Lockett were finalists in team roping. Franzen is a two-time NFR qualifier in steer wrestling.

“I think it’s a great opportunity with the marketing tools that Nate has for us to be able to expose ourselves to the whole gamut of people who are looking for horses,” Tierney said. “They’re looking for a good calf horse or any type of rodeo horses.

“Nate has established his website as a great marketplace. I think it’s very advantageous to anybody in the horse business that needs to expose their horses to the market. We’re not just exposing our horses to the people who are reading the magazines, but from all over with the internet. We’re able to have more exposure, which helps you open up to a bigger audience.”

What will potential buyers see when they log on? They will see horses that have been trained and developed by the professionals who know what it takes to compete on these amazing animals.

“When you’ve done this for as long as Jake, Clay and myself, we know the aspects of the horses we have,” Tierney said. “We know what that horse has to do. What we want these horses to do most is have a connection with anybody.”

Training an animal to be able to perform like that is easier said than done, but that’s what makes the Champions Select horses special.

“We really believe we’re going to have the kind of horse on the video that anybody will be able to ride and use,” he said. “This isn’t just the high performers who are looking at these horses, but we’re going to say that a person of less ability will be able to ride these horses because there’s a great amount of control that the horse has in him.”

postheadericon Wilson’s giving pays off for rodeo

GUYMON, Okla. – Lanny Wilson is a generous man of many talents.

The Guymon man uses all of them as one of the many volunteers on the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo committee who help to produce the annual event, which will have four performances set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 2; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

“Lanny does so many things for us every year,” said Earl Helm, the committee chairman. “He helps us all year long with a lot of projects, and he’s really stepped up and made our hospitality the best in rodeo.”

Lanny Wilson has been a key volunteer for the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo for several years. He is one of many who helps make the annual rodeo such a successful event.

Lanny Wilson has been a key volunteer for the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo for several years. He is one of many who helps make the annual rodeo such a successful event.

Wilson is co-owner of Wilson Welding Works with Jerry Allen, and the shop donates equipment and many man-hours each year. In fact, Wilson Welding Works has done that for several decades. But that’s just part of the man’s giving nature.

“We make a lot of the repairs on welding and help build the new stuff,” Wilson said. “We’re working on bull pens and steer pen right now. This is something we do for the community. It’s a give-back. There are a lot of people that shuffle their cards so they can make money through Pioneer Days, but that’s not our purpose at Wilson Welding.”

It’s been noticed.

“It’s more than just doing things after work,” said Ken Stonecipher, the production director for the rodeo. “They’re paying their guys to be down there working on things. The two of them have been repairing and remodeling and working on that arena since the early 1990s. But that’s who they are.

“Lanny and Jerry also built softball fields for Kids Inc., so it’s more than the rodeo. They’re about giving to the community as a whole.”

In addition, Wilson spends a good portion of rodeo week in the hospitality building, preparing food and serving contestants, workers and others from the opening day of competition on Monday, April 28, until the rodeo concludes late in the afternoon Sunday, May 4.

“My wife, Vicki, and I are involved with that along with many, many others,” Wilson said. “I like to have people talking about the hospitality we put on in Guymon. I think we have one of the very finest in all of ProRodeo.”

It is, but it’s because of appropriate sponsorships and a dedicated crew that puts an emphasis on hospitality. It’s just another showcase of the type of work ethic volunteers put in each year to make Pioneer Days Rodeo one of the very best in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.

You see, Wilson has lent his hand to many aspects of rodeo over the years. He has worked as a sound technician at other rodeos, and, in Guymon, tackled just about any job assigned to him.

“When Lanny gets involved in something, he’s all in, whether it’s sound for rodeos or working on the hospitality or whatever,” Stonecipher said. “When Lanny got involved in the production side of rodeos and doing sound all over the region, he couldn’t help but compare other rodeo committees’ hospitality to Guymon, and that made him more willing to help out.

“Then he developed a passion for cooking, and those two things met with some great results in Guymon.”

Wilson has been recognized for his contributions. A few years ago, he was rewarded with the John Justin Standard of the West Award for his contributions to the rodeo committee. Last year, he was Guymon’s Citizen of the Year.

Still, it takes a certain personality to continue to volunteer time, talents and money to Guymon’s biggest celebration.

“This was built by the community,” Wilson said. “You’re going to be known for something, so why not be something good. Pioneer Days is all about our heritage. It’s what the old-timers did years and years ago, and we’re just trying to keep carrying it on.”

It’s that mentality by many members of the community that makes Pioneer Days Rodeo such a success.

postheadericon Big Tex recovering from surgery

GUTHRIE, Okla. – Big Tex, one of the top bucking broncs in ProRodeo, had surgery Saturday night after suffering with a bout of colic. He is recovering at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo horse, which was scheduled to perform during the final round at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, had been treated for several days at the Lazy E by Dr. Grace Richter of Oakridge Equine Hospital in Edmond, Okla.

“He had displacement of the colon between the spleen and the kidney,” Richter said Monday afternoon.

She and the staff performed a rolling maneuver in which Big Tex as lifted off the ground by his hind legs with a tractor; the purpose was to help get the colon off his spleen and kidney. When that failed to ease Big Tex’s discomfort, she decided it was time for surgeons at OSU to be called in. Travis Adams, the Pete Carr Pro Rodeo operations manager, was with the animal through much of the treatment and took Big Tex the 45 miles to Stillwater, Okla.

“I know he’s tough, but I didn’t know how much he wasn’t showing us,” Richter said of the 14-year-old bay bucking horse, which was named the 2010 Bareback Horse of the Year. “I thought this was pretty mild when I first saw him. I wasn’t too worried until the third day when we hadn’t had a lot of production. I was worried that there could be a whole lot more going on in there that I couldn’t see in the ultrasound.”

Dr. Chase Whitfield at OSU performed the surgery and found blockage in the colon not allowing things to continue to pass. It can be quite dangerous for horses. Fortunately when Whitfield opened Big Tex’s abdomen, he found no need to go into the colon. Instead, the surgeon injected fluid directly into the colon and allowed it to move the blockage.

“When I talked to Dr. Whitfield, he said the horse was doing great,” Richter said.

Adams, who has been around Big Tex for the last several years, praised Richter.

“She did all the work that kept him in such great shape, and when it was time for the final decision for surgery, she made it,” Adams said. “She was up all night with him keeping fluids in him and doctoring him. She sent him to OSU because her clinic didn’t have the facility to handle a bucking horse. She spent her time at the arena working on him.

“In my opinion, she is the single reason he is alive. She was the one who kept him strong enough to make it through surgery.”

Doctors expect Big Tex to recover completely but say he will be sidelined from action for about four to six months.

postheadericon McCoys hold on in ‘Amazing Race’

As cowboys who rode bucking beasts for a living, Jet and Cord McCoy learned a long time ago to hang on tightly.

They’ve been doing that through seven legs of Season 24 of “The Amazing Race.” On Sunday night, the brothers began the seventh episode of the reality TV series as one of seven teams still in the race around the world for the $1 million first-place prize. When the show concluded, they held on to fourth place and advance to the eighth leg, which will air Easter Sunday, April 20, on CBS-TV.

Jet and Cord McCoy

Jet and Cord McCoy

More importantly, the brothers held on to their Express Pass, which was their reward for winning the opening episode of the race. By having it, they will be allowed to skip a challenge during one leg of the race; the one wild card with the Express Pass is that it must be used by the eighth leg of the race, which is next week.

“Holding on to the Express Pass this long, I think, has been huge for us,” Jet said.

It has. The McCoys, who grew up in tiny Tupelo, Okla., have handled all the challenges that have come their way so far. In fact, they’ve won two heats. Of greater importance is that they are one of six teams remaining in the around-the-world marathon.

“On the very next leg, we have to play the Express Pass,” Cord said. “Then, on the other hand, I think we’ve got the bulls-eye on us, so we’re going to have to beat everybody the next leg of the race.”

The seventh leg of the race began in Sri Lanka, but the scenery quickly changed. The brothers were the second team to leave the mat in the country’s largest city of Colombia and quickly figured out that the Eternal City was Rome; teams were directed to the Hadrian Bridge to find their next clue in the race.

“Hadrian was one of the emperors of Rome,” Jet told his brothers as they made their way to a travel agent.

Each of the teams was on the same overnight flight. Once they arrived at Hadrian Bridge, the clue directed the teams to the Detour, where they were to either be gladiators or charioteers; The Cowboys chose the horses. The thing was, the horses plastic-like creatures that were part of remote control vehicles, and teams had to race around the obstacle-laced track with one team member steering and the other controlling the speed.

“The chariot race was crazy,” Jet said. “There were rocks, and you really had to watch out for all the other racers who were driving around like Sri Lankans.”

The McCoys were the fifth team to arrive at the chariot race and the second to leave. The next clue took them to the Piazza Di Spagna, and the clue referred to poet John Keats’ former home. Unfortunately, most of the Roman cabbies interpreted the clue as to a street, not the plaza; therefore, most teams had to backtrack to the Piazza Di Spagna.

There the teams had to face the Road Block, where one member had to count the number of steps at the plaza and add that figure to the roman numerals on the monument, which indicated what year the monument was erected. The total then had to be rewritten in roman numerals for the teams to advance to the pit stop at Piazza Del Popolo.

Jet did the counting for the McCoys, then the brothers raced to the finish. The married tandem of Brendon Villegas and Rachel Reilly were first to the mat. Dave and Connor O’Leary allowed The Country Singers, Jennifer Wayne and Caroline Cutbirth, to finish second, while the father-son team finished third.

The Afghanamals, Leo Temory and Jamal Zadran, placed fifth, then they and host Phil Keoghan watched a mad race to the finish. The Globetrotters, Herb Lang and Nate Lofton, edged the engaged couple, John Erck and Jessica Hoel, to the mat; Erck and Hoel were eliminated.

“This race has been so super competitive,” Keoghan said. “I don’t know if we’ve ever had a season where teams are so close running in to the mat.”

postheadericon National champs earn coveted titles

Jacobs Crawley rides J Bar J Rodeo's Sweatin Bullets for 83 points to share the final-round title at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo on Saturday night at the Lazy E Arena. He was crowned the national champion. (PRCA PRORODEO PHOTO BY JAMES PHIFER)

Jacobs Crawley rides J Bar J Rodeo’s Sweatin Bullets for 83 points to share the final-round title at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo on Saturday night at the Lazy E Arena. He was crowned the national champion. (PRCA PRORODEO PHOTO BY JAMES PHIFER)

GUTHRIE, Okla. – If saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley lacked any confidence prior to his appearance at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, he’s leaving with a truckload.

Jacobs Crawley

Jacobs Crawley

Crawley, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Stephenville, Texas, rode two broncs Saturday night during the final performance of RNCFR and walked away from the Lazy E Arena with the coveted title of national champion.

“I’m just excited, happy and riding confident,” said Crawley, who won the NFR average championship four months ago in Las Vegas. “I think that’s what every bronc rider and cowboy wants is to get confident and feeling good. Summer’s just around the corner, so this is the kind of momentum heading into three straight months of rodeoing.

“Hopefully I can win some money (over the summer run) and get close to that gold buckle.”

The rodeo’s format featured 24 contestants competing in two go-rounds. The top eight cumulative times or scores advanced to Saturday night’s semifinals, where the scores were then wiped away. The top four from the semifinals advanced to finals; the top score in was crowned national champion.

In the final round, Crawley rode J Bar J Rodeo’s Sweatin Bullets for 83 points and tied two-time world champion Cody Wright, who matched moves with Lancaster and Pickett’s Total Equine Angel. Crawley won the title because he posted a better score in the semis; he was 79, while Wright was 77.

“That’s a really nice horse,” Crawley said of Sweatin Bullets. “I had that horse at the NFR and had some luck on her. I was comfortable and confident with that animal.”

Caleb Bennett

Caleb Bennett

It showed. In all, he won $13,689. He was joined on the national championship stage by steer wrestler Kyle Irwin of Robertsdale, Ala.; tie-down roper Josh Peek of Pueblo, Colo.; team ropers Ty Blassingame of Sugar City, Colo., and J.W. Borrego of Weston, Colo.; bull rider Parker Breding of Edgar, Mont.; barrel racer Gretchen Benbenek of Aubrey, Texas; and bareback rider Caleb Bennett of Morgan, Utah.

Like Crawley, Bennett made his way to the title through the tie-breaker. Of the four cowboys who rode in the championship round, three scored 84s: Bennett; Bobby Mote of Culver, Ore.; and Joe Gunderson of Agar, S.D. Bennett, who won the semifinals, with an 84-point ride on Korkow Rodeo’s Inky, claimed the RNCFR crown.

“I don’t think it’s really hit yet,” said Bennett, who rode Pickett Rodeo’s Delta Glamorous in the final round. “It’s still kind of floating through the air, and I’m still floating on clouds.

“This is one of the biggest wins of my career.”

Bennett, a two-time NFR qualifier who earned nearly $64,000 in Las Vegas last December, said the momentum will come in quite handy as he prepares to embark on the busiest stretch of the ProRodeo season.

“Wins like this just help a guy out throughout the rest of the year, with their confidence, their pocketbook,” he said. “I want to be the best I can and as great as I can for my whole entire career. I hope this is a stepping stone in my wins, and I hope it continues to grow.”

Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo
April 10-12, Guthrie, Okla.
Final results
Bareback riding:
Semifinals: 1. Caleb  Bennett, 84 points on Korkow Rodeos’ Inky, $ 5,484; 2. Bobby Mote, 81, $4,113; 3. Seth Hardwick, 78, $2,742; 4. Joe Gunderson, 77, $1,371. Finals: 1. (tie) Caleb Bennett on Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Delta Glamorous, Bobby Mote on J Bar J’s Smack Daddy and Joe Gunderson on Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Top Flight, 84 points, $4,113 each. 4. Seth Hardwick, 78, $2,742. National champion: Caleb Bennett.

Steer wrestling: Semifinals: 1. Beau Franzen, 3.8 seconds, $5,484; 2. Bray Armes, 4.1, $4,113; 3. Pep Arballo, 4.3, $2,742; 4. Kyle Irwin, 4.4, $1,371. Finals: 1. Kyle Irwin, 3.3 seconds (ties Stockton Graves’ 2011 record), $5,484; 2. Bray Armes, 3.9, $4,113; 3. Beau Franzen, 4.1, $2,742; 4. Pep Arballo, 6.5, $1,371. National champion: Kyle Irwin.

Tie-down roping: Semifinals: 1. Adam Gray, 7.6 seconds, $5,484; 2. J.C. Malone, 8.3, $4,113; 3. Josh Peek, 8.4, $2,742; 4. Jerome Schneeberger, 8.6, $1,371. Finals: 1. (tie) Josh Peek and Jerome Schneeberger, 7.7 seconds, $4,799 each, 3. J.C. Malone, 9.5, $2,742; no other qualified runs. National champion: Josh Peek.

Saddle bronc riding: Semifinals: 1. Jeremy Meeks, 81 points on Rafter H Rodeo’s Spade, $5,485; 2. Jacobs Crawley, 79, $4,113; 3. Cody Wright, 77, $2,742; 4. Brandon Biebelle, 71, $1,371. Finals: 1. (tie) Cody Wright on Lancaster and Pickett’s Total Equine Angel and Jacobs Crawley on J Bar J’s Sweatin Bullets, 83 points, $4,799 each; 3. Jeremy Meeks, 79, $2,742; no other qualified rides. National champion: Jacobs Crawley.

Team roping: Semifinals: 1. Jake Barnes/Cory Petska, 4.1 seconds, $5,484 each; 2. Paul David Tierney/Jared Bilby, 4.2, $4,113; 3. (tie) Nick Sartain/Reagan Ward and Ty Blasingame/J.W. Borrego, 4.6, $2,057 each. Finals: 1. Ty Blasingame/J.W. Borrego, 3.9 seconds, $5,484 each; 2. Nick Sartain/Reagan Ward, 4.4 seconds, $4,113; no other qualified times. National champions: Ty Blasingame/J.W. Borrego.

Barrel racing: Semifinals: 1. Kassiday Dennison, 17.41, $5,484; 2. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.42, $4,113; 3. (tie) Shelly Anzick and June Holeman, 17.43, $2,057 each. Finals: 1. Gretchen Benbenek, 17.13 seconds, $5,484; 2. June Holeman, 17.21, $4,113; 3. Kassidy Dennison, 17.23, $2,742; 4. Shelly Anzick, 17.45, $1,371. National champion: Gretchen Benbenek.

Bull riding: Semifinals: 1. Parker Breding, 84 points on D&H Cattle’s Fire Show, $5,485; no other qualified rides. Finals: 1. Parker Breding, 88 points on Silver Creek Rodeo’s Rising Sun; no other qualified rides. National champion: Parker Breding.

Circuit team champion: Prairie Circuit.

postheadericon Mote in position for another title

Four-time world champion bareback rider Bobby Mote rides Pickett ProRodeo's Scarlett Fever for 86 points Saturday afternoon to win the second go-round and the average at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. He advances to Saturday night's semifinals. (PRCA PRORODEO PHOTO BY JAMES PHIFER)

Four-time world champion bareback rider Bobby Mote rides Pickett ProRodeo’s Scarlett Fever for 86 points Saturday afternoon to win the second go-round and the average at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. He advances to Saturday night’s semifinals. (PRCA PRORODEO PHOTO BY JAMES PHIFER)

GUTHRIE, Okla. – Bobby Mote is starting to like the way the format works at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

Mote, a four-time world champion bareback rider from Culver, Ore., has won two of the last three national championships, including the 2012 RNCFR title. On Saturday afternoon, he an 86-point ride on Pickett ProRodeo’s Scarlett Fever to win the second go-round and the two-ride average.

Bobby Mote

Bobby Mote

“There was a long stretch there where I couldn’t place here,” said Mote, an 11-time qualifier to the national circuit finals rodeo. “Then it seemed like a few years ago, I did good.

“The last couple of years, it’s been really good for me.”

Yes, it has.

His ride in the matinee was the highest marked bareback ride of the rodeo through four performances. Mote has pocketed $9,392 and awaits the final performance to decide the overall outcome. Of course, it helps to have a good dance partner when playing on one of the biggest stages in the game.

“We’ve had that horse in the TV pen at the NFR,” Mote said, referring to the group of electric horses that are featured annually at the sport’s year-end championship, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Scarlett Fever is out of a champion dam, Scarlett, and sired by the great Night Jacket. With those great animals combined as parents, the younger horse seemed destined to excel.

“That bloodline makes up 10 of the 15 best horses going,” he said. “When you have one that’s bred that way, you’re pretty sure it’s going to be pretty good.

“Dynamic genetics.”

His two national titles are just added flavor to an already distinguished career in which the Oregon cowboy has qualified 13 straight times to the NFR. Still, it’s an important piece of the pie for a man who makes his living on bucking horses.

“It’s the end of a season,” Mote said, referring to the RNCFR’s status in ProRodeo. “You went to all the circuit rodeos. When our (Columbia River) circuit starts up, that’s the place to be for everybody, so those are tough rodeos to win. It does mean a lot to not only have the Columbia River Circuit year-end title, but to come here and capitalize on this opportunity.

“It’s a big deal. They only give one out. There are lots of cowboys shooting for it.”

Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo
April 10-12, Guthrie, Okla.
Second round results
Bareback riding:
1. Bobby Mote, 86 points on Pickett ProRodeo’s Scarlet Fever, $4,525; 2. (tie) Caleb Bennett and Tyrel Nelson, 83, $2,948 each; 4. (tie) Jared Smith and Evan Jayne, 82, $1,303 each; 6. (tie) Shon Gibson and Seth Hardwick, 81, $343 each. Average: 1. Bobby Mote, 165 points on two head, $4,525; 2. Caine Riddle, 162, $3,428; 3. (tie) Tyrel Nelson and Seth Hardwick, 161, $2,057 each; 5. Caleb Bennett, 158, $960; 6. (tie) Shon Gibson, Jared Smith, Joe Gunderson and George Gillespie IV, 157, $171 each.

Steer wrestling: 1. (tie) Bray Armes and Stockton Graves, 4.0 seconds, $3,976 each; 3. Kyle Irwin, 4.1, $2,468; 4. Pep Arballo, 4.2, $1,645; 5. Beau Franzen, 4.3, $960; 6. (tie) Dirk Tavenner and Justin Morehouse, 4.4, $343 each. Average: 1. (tie) Bray Armes and Trevor Knowles, 8.7 seconds on two runs, $3,976 each; 3. (tie) Pep Arballo and Will Lummus, 9.0, $2,057 each; 5. Beau Franzen, 9.3, $960; 6. Nick Guy, 9.5, $686; 7. Wade Sumpter, 9.7; 8. (tie) Kyle Irwin and Ryle Smith, 10.10 (Irwin advances via tie-breaker).

Tie-down roping: 1. Caddo Lewallen, 8.1 seconds, $4,525; 2. Kevin Peterson, 8.8, $3,428; 3. (tie) Adam Gray and Cameron Elston, 8.9 seconds, $2,057 each; 5. Trevor Thiel, 9.0, $960; 6. J.C. Malone, 9.1, $686. Average: 1. Adam Gray, 18.1 seconds on two runs, $4,525; 2. Josh Peek, 18.5, $3,428; 3. Caddo Lewallen, 18.6, $2,468; 4. Jesse Clark, 18.7, $1,645; 5. J.C. Malone, 18.9, $960; 6. Shane Erickson, 19.1, $686; 7. Tim Pharr, 19.6; 8. Jerome Schneeberger, 20.6.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Cody Wright, 83 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Painted Chip, $4,525; 2. (tie) Brandon Biebelle, Jacobs Crawley and Heith DeMoss, 82, $2,514 each; 5. (tie) Casey Maddox and Sterling Crawley, 80, $823 each. Average: 1. Cody Wright, 166 points on two head, $4,525; 2. Brandon Biebelle, 163, $3.428; 3. Sterling Crawley, 160, $2,468; 4. Jeremy Meeks, 159, $1,645; 5. Jacobs Crawley, 156, $960; 6. Heith DeMoss, 155, $686; 7. Josh Reynolds, Casey Maddox and Jake Wright, 153 (Reynolds and Maddox advance on tie-breaker).

Team roping: 1. Jake Stanley/Justin Davis, 4.4 seconds, $4,525 each; 2. Paul David Tierney/Jared Bilby, 4.6, $3,428; 3. Jake Barnes/Cory Petska, 4.8, $2,468; 4. Ryan Von Ahn/J.W. Beck, 5.0, $1,645; 5. Troy Boone/Derrick Peterson, 5.1, $960; 6. Ty Blasingame/J.W Borrego, 5.2, $686. Average: 1. Paul David Tierney/Jared Bilby, 9.7 seconds on two runs, $4,525 each; 2. Ty Blasingame/J.W. Borrego, 10.2, $3,428; 3. Jake Stanley/Justin Davis, 10.5, $2,468; 4. Jake Barnes/Cory Petska, 10.8, $1,645; 5. Jade Stoddard/Ike Folsom, 11.1, $960; 6. Ryan Von Ahn/J.W. Beck, 11.3, $686; 7. Troy Boone/Derrick Peterson, 11.5; 8. Nick Sartain/Reagan Ward, 12.8.

Barrel racing: 1.Shelly Anzick, 17.16 seconds, $4.525; 2. Sherry Cervi, 17.26, $3,428; 3. (tie) Kenna Squires and Sammi Bessert, 17.38, $2,057 each; 5. (tie) Laura Kennedy and Shelby Janssen, 17.39, $823 each. Average: 1. Shelly Anzick, 34,82 seconds on two runs, $4,525; 2. Ann Scott, 34.83, $3,428; 3. Gretchen Benbenek, 34.84, $2,468; 4. (tie) June Holeman and Kassidy Dennison, 34.89, $1,303 each; 6. Nicole Yost, 34.91, $686; 7. Laura Kennedy, 34.92; 8. Ann Peterson, 34.94.

Bull riding: 1. Parker Breding, 87 points on D&H Cattle’s Hotwired, $4,525; 2. Cody Campbell, 85, $3,428; 3. Jeff Bertus, 84, $2,468; 4. Aaron Pass, 78, $1,645; 5. Sage Kimzey, 77, $960; 6. Brady Portenier, 75, $686. Average: 1. Cody Campbell, 168 points on two head, $4,525; 2. (tie) Aaron Pass and Jeff Bertus, 166, $2,948 each; 4. Parker Breding, 87 points on one head, $1,645; 5. Reid Barker, 85, $960; 6. (tie) Bobby Welsh, Mike Adams and Taygen Schuelke, 83, $229 each.

postheadericon Wright at the top of his game

Cody Wright rides Korkow Rodeo's Painted Chip for 83 points to lead the second round at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. His two-ride cumulative score of 166 points leads the average race heading into the final day. (PRCA PHOTO BY JAMES PHIFER)

Cody Wright rides Korkow Rodeo’s Painted Chip for 83 points to lead the second round at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. His two-ride cumulative score of 166 points leads the average race heading into the final day. (PRCA PHOTO BY JAMES PHIFER)

GUTHRIE, Okla. – In all his years of competing in professional rodeo, saddle bronc rider Cody Wright had never been to the storied Lazy E Arena before this week’s Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

He may have found a second home.

Cody Wright

Cody Wright

On Friday night, Wright rodeo Korkow Rodeo’s Painted Chip for 83 points to take the second-round lead at ProRodeo’s national championship. It’s great timing, coming just 24 hours after his first-round winning, 83-point ride Thursday.

“It’s a great start,” said Wright, a two-time world champion from Milford, Utah. “To win the first round and to be winning the second round … is a good thing.”

Of course, Painted Chip had quite a bit to do with. The South Dakota-raised horse is known for being solid.

“He just turned out of there really good and jumped and kicked,” Wright said. “He felt like he was hanging in the air and giving me time to set my feet and make a ride the judges are looking for.”

The Utah cowboy knows what it takes to ride broncs. He has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo 11 straight years. He earned rodeo gold in 2008 and 2010. This weekend’s festivities mark the eighth time he has qualified for the RNCFR. Now he’s leader in the average with a two-ride cumulative total of 166 points. He owns a three-point advantage of the No. 2 cowboy, Brandon Biebelle of San Lorenzo, N.M.

It’s important to be at the top of the pack, especially in this format, which features 24 contestants in each discipline. When the second round wraps after the performance that begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, only the top eight in each event advance to the semifinals, which begins at 7:30 p.m. The scores are then erased, and only the top four from that round move on to the finals. The contestants in each event with the best score or fastest time in the final round will be crowned national champions.

“I’ve done the best I could with what I had,” said Wright, whose brother, Jesse, is a two-time RNCFR bronc riding champion. “I’m not trying to compare myself with him. He’s way better than I am. I just try to be the best I can and win where I can.”

He’ll get another chance on the final night to see how it all plays out.

Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo

April 10-12, Guthrie, Okla.
Second round leaders

Bareback riding: 1. (tie) Caleb Bennett, on Korkow Rodeo’s Bambino Vold, and Tyrel Nelson, on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Sadies Gal, 83 points; 3. Jared Smith, 82; 4. (toe) Shon Gibson, and Seth Hardwick, 81; 6. Caine Riddle, 79. Average leaders: 1. Caine Riddle, 162 points on two rides; 2. (tie) Tyrel Nelson and Seth Hardwick, 161; 4. Caleb Bennett, 158; 5. (tie) Shon Gibson and Jared Smith, 157; 7. Jessy Davis, 152; 8. Austin Foss, 151.

Steer wrestling: 1. Stockton Graves, 4.0 seconds; 2. Beau Franzen, 4.3; 3. (tie) Dirk Tavenner, Justin Morehouse and Olin Hannum, 4.4; 6. Wade Sumpter, 4.8. Average leaders: 1. Beau Franzen, 9.3 seconds on two runs; 2. Wade Sumpter, 9.7; 3. Ryle Smith, 10.10; 4. Joe Brown, 20.4; 5. Stockton Graves, 4.0 on one run; 6. Will Lummus, 4.1; 7. (tie) Nick Guy and Trevor Knowles, 4.2

Tie-down roping: 1. (tie) Adam Gray, and Cameron Elston, 8.9 seconds; 3. J.C. Malone, 9.1; 4. Josh Peek, 10.4; 5. Seth Opper, 11.2; 6. Jason Schaffer, 11.4. Average leaders: 1. Adam Gray, 18.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Josh Peek, 18.5; 3. J.C. Malone, 18.9; 4. Jerome Schneeberger, 20.6; 5. Jason Schaffer, 24.3; 6. Justin Thigpen, 31.6; 7. Cameron Elston, 33.7; 8. Chad Johnson, 47.0.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Cody Wright, 83 points on Korkow Rodeo’s Painted Chip; 2. (tie) Brandon Biebelle, Jacobs Crawley and Heith DeMoss, 82; 5. (tie) Josh Reynolds, Lyle Welling and Ty Thompson, 73. Average leaders: 1. Cody Wright, 166 points on two rides; 2. Brandon Biebelle, 163; 3. Jacobs Crawley, 156; 4. Heith DeMoss, 155; 5. Josh Reynolds, 153; 6. Lyle Welling, 149; 7. Joaquin Real, 145; 8. Ty Thompson, 143.

Team roping: 1. Paul David Tierney/Jared Bilby, 4.6 seconds; 2. Jake Barnes/Cory Petska, 4.8; 3. Troy Boone/Derrick Peterson, 5.1; 4. Tadd Thomas/Dusty Morse, 10.7; no other qualified times. Average leaders: 1. Paul David Tierney/Jared Bilby, 9.7 seconds on two runs; 2. Jake Barnes/Cory Petska, 10.8; 3. Troy Boone/Derrick Peterson, 11.5; 4. Tadd Thomas/Dusty Morse, 16.3; 5. Dustin Bird/John Robertson, 4.5 seconds on one run; 6. Nick Sartain/Reagan Ward, 4.9; 7. Ty Blasingame/J.W. Borrego, 5.0; 8. (tie) Travis Bounds/Ryan Zurcher and Justin Davis/Ryan Motes, 5.4.

Barrel racing: 1. Sherry Cervi, 17.26 seconds; 2. Kenna Squires, 17.38; 3. Laura Kennedy, 17.39; 4. Ann Scott, 17.47; 5. Cindy Woods, 17.50; 6. Lisa Lockhart, 17.61. Average leaders: 1. Ann Scott, 34.83 seconds on two runs; 2. June Holeman, 34.89; 3. Laura Kennedy, 34.92; 4. Lisa Lockhart, 35.06; 5. Cindy Woods, 35.33; 6. McKale Hadley, 35.51; 7. Lindsay Kruse, 35.65; 8. Taylor Young, 35.68.

Bull riding: 1. Aaron Pass, 78 points on D&H Cattle’s Fire Show; 2. Brady Portenier, 75; no other qualified rides. Average leaders: 1. Aaron Pass, 166 points on two rides; 2. Reid Barker, 85 points on one ride; 3. (tie) Cody Campbell, Bobby Welsh, Mike Adams and Taygen Schuelke, 83; 7. Jeff Bertus, 82; 8. Tustin Daye, 79.

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