postheadericon Brazile starts strong opening day

Trevor Brazile closes out a heeling run Friday night during the second round of the CINCH Timed Event Championship. Brazile won both rounds and has pocketed $6,000 so far. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

Trevor Brazile closes out a heeling run Friday night during the second round of the CINCH Timed Event Championship. Brazile won both rounds and has pocketed $6,000 so far. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

GUTHRIE, Okla. – The new format with the CINCH Timed Event Championship seems to be a hit amongst the cowboys.

After 32 years of paying out the fastest go-rounds at the conclusion of the five-round affair, the organizers have opted to adjust that $30,000 into the five rounds. For the first time ever, the winner of each round earns $3,000.

“I don’t have any complaints about it,” said Trevor Brazile, the only seven-time champion of the Timed Event and the winner of Friday’s first and second go-rounds. “I think it’s good for the fans to see a winner each performance, too.”

Brazile won the first round by making five runs in 56.3 seconds in heading, tie-down roping, heeling, steer wrestling and steer roping. He then posted a 54.7-second round Friday night. His 10-run cumulative time of 111.0 seconds gives him the lead heading into Saturday’s third and fourth rounds.

He is 10.7 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Clay Smith of Broken Bow, Okla. But the big part of the day was Brazile earning $6,000. He has now pocketed $785,000 in his two decades of competing at the Timed Event.

Another big change was the addition of the Jr. Ironman Championship, which kick-starts each day’s competition. Featuring 15- to 20-year-old cowboys competing in all events but steer roping, the youth championship will $1,000 a day to the winner and $10,000 to the aggregate champion.

Myles Neighbors of Benton, Ark., roped, tied and wrestled four animals in 44.7 seconds to win the inaugural round of the Jr. Ironman.

“I really think the Junior Timed Event is really good,” Brazile said. “I remember how excited I was when I was 18 and I came here to compete in this. To see the Junior Timed Event here and getting those young cowboys involved early – in being multi-event cowboys and not specializing – means a lot to me.

“I hope to see some of those guys competing in the Timed Event in a few years. It gets in their blood early and lets them not be one-dimensional. For them to be able to reap the benefits of being a multi-event cowboy is fun to see. My hat’s off to the Lazy e for involving them.”

RESULTS
First round:
1. Trevor Brazile, 56.3 seconds, $3,000; 2. Clay Smith, 61.2, $2,000; 3. Shay Carroll, 63.7, $1,000.
Second round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 54.7 seconds, $3,000; 2. Paul David Tierney, 56.5, $2,000; 3. Josh Peek, 56.7, $1,000.
Jr. Ironman: 1. Miles Neighbors, 44.7 seconds, $1,000.

postheadericon Brazile takes the first round

Seven-time champion Trevor Brazile ropes his calf in 11.5 seconds during his 56.3-second first round to win the $3,000 check. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

Seven-time champion Trevor Brazile ropes his calf in 11.5 seconds during his 56.3-second first round to win the $3,000 check. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

Trevor Brazile has been in this position before. In fact, nobody’s won more CINCH Timed Event Championship titles than the Texan, and he proved why Friday afternoon during the first round of this year’s “Ironman of ProRodeo.”

Brazile completed five runs in 56.3 seconds to win the opening round. In a format change, the Lazy E is paying $6,000 in each of the five rounds, so Brazile pocketed $3,000 for first place. Clay Smith, the 2014 reserve champion and a two-time NFR qualifier, was second in 61.2, worth $2,000. Shay Carroll, a newcomer to the Timed Event, is third with 63.7 seconds.

There are four rounds left to go, so the race continues to crown the champion in the 33rd edition of the Timed Event, the most unique event in rodeo.

First round: 1. Trevor Brazile, 56.3 seconds, $3,000; 2. Clay Smith, 61.2, $2,000; 3. Shay Carroll, 63.7, $1,000.

postheadericon Arkansas cowboy leads Jr. Ironman

Myles Neighbors heels during Friday's first go-round of the Jr. Ironman Championship at the Lazy E. He was assisted by Truman Mangus and stopped the clock in 14.4 seconds. He won the first round with 44.7 seconds. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

Myles Neighbors heels during Friday’s first go-round of the Jr. Ironman Championship at the Lazy E. He was assisted by Truman Mangus and stopped the clock in 14.4 seconds. He won the first round with 44.7 seconds. (JAMES PHIFER PHOTO)

The contestants in the first go-round ever in the Jr. Ironman Championships learned some valuable lessons Friday morning.

This is a rugged test of a cowboy’s talent. By the time the opening day was complete, Myles Neighbors of Benton, Ark., roped, tied and wrestled four animals in 44.7 seconds to win the first round and pocket $1,000.

More importantly, he carries a 3.4-second lead heading into Saturday’s second round, which begins at 9 a.m. Haven Meged of Miles City, Mont., sits second with 48.1, followed by Bo Yaussi in 52.3.

postheadericon Hadley Barrett 1929-2017

Hadley Barrett, Sept. 18, 1929-March 2, 2017

Hadley Barrett, Sept. 18, 1929-March 2, 2017

Nearly 18 years ago I sat down at a little restaurant in South Hutchinson, Kan., to visit with a ProRodeo legend.

In that hour and a half, I learned more about Hadley Barrett, his family and his passions. He gave me insights that I never published, but I have carried them with me for almost two decades. He was more than a source to me; he also was my friend.

Ted Harbin TwisTed Rodeo

Ted Harbin
TwisTed Rodeo

Hadley died this morning just five days after announcing the final round of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. He was 87. Memorials for him have already filled social media, and the tributes will continue for many weeks ahead. He was that kind of man.

My visit with Hadley on that July 1999 day was just before the first performance of the Kansas Largest Night Rodeo in Pretty Prairie. It was just a few weeks prior to his induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, a designation he rightfully deserves.

I sat with him, his wife, Lee, and our dear friend, Connie Hedrick, who was a major part of the Pretty Prairie rodeo committee. We chatted about his love affair with that rodeo, one he began announcing early in his career.

Oh, and what a career.

He has called the action at the National Finals Rodeo, the National Finals Steer Roping, the Canadian Finals Rodeo and served for many years as the NFR TV announcer. His voice and rodeo were synonymous.

He filled me in on the intricacies that come with announcing on TV and what it meant to work a rodeo horseback.  He explained what a joy it was to return to the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills to announce his hometown rodeo, the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.

I can’t begin to tell you how many big rodeos he’s worked, but I can tell you he was a class act and that he will be missed in the world of rodeo.

Cheers, Hadley Barrett. You were one of a kind.

MY STORY FROM JULY 1999 IN THE HUTCHINSON NEWS: http://www.hutchnews.com/news/time—-begins-p-m-tonight-through-saturday/article_8c621b0f-60ba-5704-9e8c-75285b6ec111.html

postheadericon Timed Event: A true sports spectacle

The greatest Western sports spectacle is the National Finals Rodeo, a 10-round championship that features only the very best from a 12-month season.

Right behind it is the CINCH Timed Event Championship, the most unique and memorable equine-based event in the world of rodeo. Twenty men. Five events. Five go-rounds. Three days.

Ted Harbin TwisTed Rodeo

Ted Harbin
TwisTed Rodeo

Now in its 33rd year, the Timed Event is a test of talent, stamina and one’s mental capacity to handle all the challenges that come his way. Trevor Brazile is always the favorite because he competes in three of the five events on a daily basis – heading, tie-down roping and steer roping.

He also has world titles in each of those disciplines, and he joins Dale Smith as the only two men to have ever qualified for the National Finals in all four roping disciplines – he earned his first team roping qualification in heeling in 1998. Oh, and he’s earned a record seven Timed Event crowns to go along with his 23 PRCA world championships.

But the field is loaded with exceptional all-around talent, including past champs like Josh Peek (1), Kyle Lockett (2), reigning champ Paul David Tierney (2), Daniel Green (3) and K.C. Jones (5).

How tough is the Timed Event? Only 12 men have ever taken the crown, and six of those are going to be at the Lazy E Arena this weekend. But they aren’t the only ones who will contend. There are some salty veterans in the mix and a few young guns that could make a whale of an impact.

But that’s what makes the Timed Event such a great championship. It all kicks off at 9 a.m. Friday with the first round of the inaugural Jr. Ironman Championship, which will include 10 cowboys ages 15 to 20 competing in all the events except steer roping.

It just adds to the excitement.

postheadericon Training days ahead

Beau Schueth battles his bull during the BFO Las Vegas Championship this past December. Up-and-coming bullfighters can be part of the Bullfighters Only Development Camps and receive a chance to be part of the BFO Super Camp, set for May 30-June 3 in Decatur, Texas. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Beau Schueth battles his bull during the BFO Las Vegas Championship this past December. Up-and-coming bullfighters can be part of the Bullfighters Only Development Camps and receive a chance to be part of the BFO Super Camp, set for May 30-June 3 in Decatur, Texas. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

BFO camps offer bullfighters more in-depth education about their sport

Freestyle bullfighters now have a chance to step their game up to the next level.

Bullfighters Only is conducting a series of camps over the next few months to help up-and-coming athletes hone their skills as they plan to participate in one of the most action-packed sport in existence.

“We’re having Development Camps, and the top students from each of those camps will be invited to the BFO Super Camp,” said Aaron Ferguson, founder and CEO of Bullfighters Only.

The Super Camp will take place May 30-June 3 in Decatur, Texas, and will be presented by Fit-n-Wise. Super Camp will be held in a professional sports setting with all of the same bells and whistles as an NFL training camp. Athletes will have the opportunity to work one on one with high-level coaches, trainers and nutritionists in a state-of-the-art facility.

“The great thing about the BFO Super Camp is that it won’t cost anything for those bullfighters who are part of it,” Ferguson said. “They will train with the top bullfighters in the world and have a chance to qualify for the BFO event in Decatur on June 2nd.”

BFO Decatur is a stand-alone event that will feature the top freestyle bullfighters in the game all battling for the $25,000 prize. More information on the event will be released soon.

The first two BFO Development Camps are coming in a few weeks and are designed for intermediate and advanced freestyle bullfighters. The first is set for March 10-12 in San Bernadino, Calif., with world champion Lance Brittan and Ferguson as instructors. The second will be March 17-19 in Sikeston, Mo., with Ross Hill, Toby Inman and Schell Apple putting students through the paces.

“The BFO Development Camps will focus on the technical aspects of our sport,” Ferguson said. “Experienced bullfighters will guide students by placing heavy emphasis on physical fitness, nutrition and the mental approach to the game.

“On the final day of each camp, we will have BFO Discovery Day, where fans and beginners are introduced to the game through a crash course in Bullfighters Only 101. There will be a curriculum and hands-on training with a bull dummy and they may even get to face a live animal.”

The deadline for both camps is midnight on Feb. 28. For more information and to sign up, visit BFO’s website, www.BullfightersOnly.com.

postheadericon Larsen ready for Guymon reunion

Tyrel Larsen competes at the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo last May. He looks forward to the rodeo every year because it's much like a family reunion for the Oklahoma Panhandle State University graduate.

Tyrel Larsen competes at the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo last May. He looks forward to the rodeo every year because it’s much like a family reunion for the Oklahoma Panhandle State University graduate.

GUYMON, Okla. – The first rodeo Charlie Russell Larsen attended was during Pioneer Days last May.

He was just 3 weeks old, and there’s a good chance he’ll return to Guymon every May for the event. He may not have been born in Texas County, but it’s very much who he is. He is the son of Chaney (Latham) and Tyrel Larsen, both Oklahoma Panhandle State University graduates.

Mom was born in the Panhandle and raised near Goodwell. Charlie’s grandfather is Craig Latham, a nine-time saddle bronc riding qualifier to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo who served as the Panhandle State rodeo coach for several years. Dad is a professional bronc rider, too, and is hoping the 2017 season provides him a return trip to the NFR; he qualified in 2015.

Tyrel Larsen will be one of dozens of bronc riders who will be part of the mix for the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 5; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 6; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 7, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

“I like going every year because it feels like a hometown rodeo to me,” said Larsen, a former college champion. “I feel like I have a few hometown rodeos, but there you have people in the stands, from professors to neighbors to family friends.

“There are a lot of memories in that arena, both good and bad. That was where Chaney and I had a bad wreck (in team roping), but I also won the bronc riding at the college rodeo there.”

That’s why he likes returning “home,” even though he and his family live in Weatherford.

“We try to spend three days there during Pioneer Days,” Larsen said. “It’s good to just hang out and see everybody again. It’s like a family reunion.”

It’s definitely a homecoming for many who have ties to the region once known as No Man’s Land. Whether they attended Panhandle State or lived in the area, there’s are certain comforts of home when they arrive for the Pioneer Days Rodeo.

Like Larsen, dozens of NFR qualifiers have ties to the region, including world champions Robert Etbauer, Billy Etbauer, Tom Reeves, Jeffrey Willert, Taos Muncy, Spencer Wright, Jhett Johnson and Rocky Patterson. All but Johnson and Patterson were bronc riders. Panhandle State is a proving ground for many of the top cowboys in the game.

“A lot of bronc riders go to school there because of all the guys that have been through there,” Larsen said. “When I went to college, we had a bunch of really good guys on the team. When you won at practice, it really meant something.

“It was like you were riding at a ProRodeo. That was a pretty big deal, because it was so competitive. You’re not so star struck knowing you could beat those guys. The more good guys you are around, the better you’re going to be in the long run.”

Larsen has been pretty good. In 2014, he just missed the NFR by finishing 16th in the world. Last year he finished 25th despite missing action in July and August – two of the busiest and most lucrative months in the season.

“I suffered a broken ankle and had surgery the end of June,” he said. “I came back the end of July, and that didn’t work, so I took a little more time off. I did that again, then in the last month of rodeo, I broke two saddles. I just didn’t have much luck last year.”

He’s hoping his luck changes for the better in 2017.

“I started off the year trying to get some redemption,” he said. “Then I realized I was trying too hard to make some things happen. If you don’t push so much, you don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Hopefully that will help.”

He’s not complaining about his time away from the rodeo arena. In fact, he found the silver lining in time spent at home.

“We got to spend lots of time together,” Larsen said. “It’s pretty nice, especially now that he’s about to start walking. He recognizes you. It’s pretty nice to come home to.”

By the time Pioneer Days Rodeo kicks off, Charlie Larsen likely will be waddling his way around Hitch Arena like all other toddlers, and he’ll have plenty of family and friends to keep watch over him while Dad tries to win the Pioneer Days title, a prize that has eluded him.

“It would be awesome to win that rodeo,” Tyrel Larsen said. “It would be like winning my hometown rodeo. So many guys that went to school there have won that title. It should be my time any year now, so I’m just waiting for it.”

postheadericon BFO bullfights return to Lewiston

Nathan Harp competes at the Bullfighters Only Roughy Cup this past December. The BFO will have a 15-man stand-alone freestyle bullfight in Lewiston, Idaho, on May 20. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Nathan Harp competes at the Bullfighters Only Roughy Cup this past December. The BFO will have a 15-man stand-alone freestyle bullfight in Lewiston, Idaho, on May 20. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Bullfighters Only will have a 15-man stand-alone event to benefit Roundup

LEWISTON, Idaho – Because Bullfighters Only at the Lewiston Roundup was such a big hit last year, the rodeo’s organizers are taking it a step further in 2017.

“There was an abundance of people who loved it and wanted more of it,” said Kirby Meshishnek, one of the directors of the Lewiston Roundup. “We’re always looking for ways to better serve the community and to bring in more money to benefit our rodeo.”

Now they’re looking to Bullfighters Only help toward the bottom line while putting on a show that has had people talking for more than five months. The Lewiston Roundup Association donates thousands of dollars to charities in the quad cities region each year.

“It was a hit on social media, and we’ve just had so many people talking about it,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to put on such a prestigious stand-alone bullfight with Bullfighters Only. They put on an awesome show.”

They certainly did last year. On opening night, the 12X & Costa fighting bull called Spitfire beat up Ross Johnson during their fight, but that wasn’t the only time a bullfighter took a hit.

“There are people that want to see wrecks, and with the Bullfighters Only, there are plenty of them,” Meshishnek said. “Everybody loves to watch a big wreck. During Roundup, a couple guys got hooked. On Saturday, Ross Hill tried to do a selfie with his phone and got plowed by the bull.”

It’s enough incentive for Roundup directors to reach out to the BFO again. The stand-alone event will feature the world’s top 15 freestyle bullfighters battling for $25,000 in prize money. They will compete in five three-man brackets, with the five winners advancing to the championship round. The bullfighter that produces the highest-scoring bout in the final round will be crowned the BFO Lewiston champion.

With scores based on a 100-point scale, men can earn up to 50 points per fight based on their ability to exhibit control and style while maneuvering around or over an animal; a bull can earn up to 50 points based on its quickness, aggression and willingness to stay with the bullfighter.

Bullfighters Only is a true man-vs.-beast spectacular. Spitfire will once again be part of the draw – one of many revered 12X & Costa Fighting Bulls that will be on hand in Lewiston.

“To me, it was a no-brainer to bring the BFO back,” Meshishnek said. “It’s a wild, action sport. I believe it’s brought a new excitement to our rodeo and our town.”

Tickets are just $15 and can be purchased at www.lewistonroundup.com/bfo-event.

postheadericon Grasping greatness

World’s best cowboys ready to fight for CINCH Timed Event Championship title

GUTHRIE, Okla. – There is no other event like the CINCH Timed Event Championship of the World.

It’s unique format features 20 of the greatest all-around timed-event cowboys of today, and they will compete in all five disciplines that make up the championship that’s been dubbed the “Ironman of ProRodeo” – heading, heeling, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and steer roping.

Paul David Tierney

Paul David Tierney

“When you compete in so many different events, consistency is the biggest deal,” said Paul David Tierney, the reigning and two-time champion from Oral, S.D. “I’ve just got to keep reminding myself to stay calm and don’t get in a hurry.”

The reason is because the Timed Event is a five-round slugfest that takes place at noon and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at the Lazy E Arena. Each contender will make 25 runs before it concludes, so it’s more like a battle of wills. The winner will be the cowboy who best handles the challenges over three days.

“It’s such a tough event with all the different horses and the different events,” said Daniel Green, a two-time titlist from Oakdale, Calif. “You have to be able to adjust to all the different scenarios and challenges that come with it.”

Daniel Green

Daniel Green

The Ironman allows team ropers to wrestle steers and gives steer wrestlers a chance to rope calves. While everyone in the field has experience in multiple events, few do more than one or two through the rigors of the rodeo trail. The Timed Event provides an opportunity to expand on their skills.

“Roping and bulldogging is 50 percent mental and 50 percent physical, but winning is 90 percent mental,” said K.C. Jones, a five-time winner form Burlington, Wyo. “The Timed Event is a huge mental game, and I like that part of it.”

This year’s festivities will include the inaugural Jr. Ironman Championship, which will feature 10 top cowboys who range in age from 15-20.

Kyle Lockett

Kyle Lockett

The Jr. Ironman will begin at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. It’s an outstanding opening act for the greatest all-around timed-event cowboys in the world competing in the most challenging contest in the sport.

They also will be on site to witness one of the greatest spectacles in Western sports history.

“Just to be considered one of the best Timed Event guys is a special honor,” said Kyle Lockett, a two-time champ from Visalia, Calif. “You can’t get caught up in it. You’ve just got to go at one animal at a time. You can’t afford to screw up.

“There’s stuff that’s going to happen. You can’t plan on anything until Sunday afternoon when everything is said and done.”

It all adds up to a magnificent championship featuring world-class competition. It’s just what fans have come to expect.

postheadericon Bay City rodeo ready to entertain

BAY CITY, Texas – People in this community tucked near the Gulf of Mexico deserve to enjoy family-friendly entertainment.

That’s the belief of the organizers of the Matagorda County Fair and Rodeo, which is why they work so hard to make this exposition one of the best in the region.

“I think we’re a small-town event and that we have a very friendly atmosphere and environment,” said Julie Culver, the fair’s manager. “With our rodeo, we have some different things we do in addition to the PRCA events. We have local events that bring a lot of community activity.”

It’s that local flavor that add so much to the county’s rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 1-Saturday, March 3, at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds.

“We have the carnival going outside, but inside, we have a great event,” Culver said. “We have a great producer who brings great stock, and we have a great announcer.”

Dallas-based Pete Carr Pro Rodeo produces the event, and Andy Stewart is the in-house announcer. Both have received numerous nominations for year-end honors in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association; Carr for Stock Contractor of the Year and Stewart for Announcer of the year. Only five people in each category receive those nominations.

“Everybody works together to pull it off,” she said. “They work very hard to make sure our event is very family-friendly, and that is important to us.”

This year’s rodeo will feature the award-winning comedy of John Harrison, who will be the clown and entertainer for the three-night event. Harrison has been named Comedy Act of the Year each of the past three seasons.

“We know he’s funny and that he’s won awards, but the big thing to me was that he has different acts,” Culver said. “For some of our rodeo fans who come to all three performances, they’ll get a chance to see a different act each night. We were looking to keep each performance fresh.”

Part of that falls on the production from the Carr firm. Because rodeo is a mixture of entertainment and competition, having smooth transitions from one to the other is vital.

Harrison, Stewart and Carr aren’t the only award-winning pieces of the rodeo puzzle. Sandy Gwatney is the reigning PRCA Secretary of the Year, and she returns to Bay City. Also in the mix are Clay Heger, a two-time nominee for Bullfighter of the Year, and Jeremy Willis, a two-time finalist for Pickup Man of the Year.

“Pete and his crew area absolutely fabulous,” she said. “They work great with the directors, and they come in behind the scenes and help take care of things. They are all very easy-going people, but they’re very cautious about the cowboys’ safety and the safety of the stock.

“The whole thing is very well-rounded. They bring good stock, and that helps bring the cowboys. They’ve been here a long time, so they know.”

It’s made for a solid partnership that benefits the members of the community and the contestants that compete.