GUTHRIE, Okla. â€“ A good cowboy is one who learns from experiences.
Landon McClaugherty is a good cowboy, and he proved it Friday night during the second go-round of the Timed Event Championship of the World. The Tilden, Texas, man raced through five runs in 57.2 seconds and pushed his two-round cumulative time to 122.6 seconds to lead the race in this yearâ€™s â€śIronman of ProRodeoâ€ť event with three rounds remaining.
â€śI wish I wouldnâ€™t have missed my trip on the last one,â€ť McClaugherty said of his steer roping run, in which he didnâ€™t quite get the rope in position initially and had to adjust quickly. He did and still posted a 25.5-second time in the event. â€śOther than that, itâ€™s been going good.â€ť
It was a busy day for all 20 of the top timed-event cowboys in rodeo to kick-start the championship. McClaughertyâ€™s time is just seven seconds faster than K.C. Jones, a five-time champion from Burlington, Wyo., who held the lead after Friday afternoonâ€™s opening go-round. McClaugherty was fourth heading into the evening performance.
Thatâ€™s when he showed how his Timed Event training has come into play. Past champions always say that the man who makes the fewest mistakes will win the title. That means being steady and solid is the key. Even with his final-run bobble, the Texan was pretty solid.
â€śItâ€™s like a practice-pen deal here; you let them out and work your horse, and you do your thing,â€ť said McClaugherty, now in his fourth time in the most unique and rugged event in rodeo. â€śYouâ€™re only going to be as fast as the cowâ€™s going to let you.â€ť
He needs to keep that focus, especially with Jones and three-time champion Daniel Green on his tail â€“ Green, of Oakdale, Calif., is third at 130.6. Also among the leaders is two-time winner Kyle Lockett of Visalia, Calif., who led the race until suffering a 60-second time in steer wrestling â€“ at the Timed Event, a 60 is the equivalent of a no-time.
The race is on with two days of competition remaining.
AVERAGE LEADERS: 1. Landon McClaugherty, 122.6 on 10 head; 2. K.C. Jones, 129.7; 3. Daniel Green, 130.6; 4. Paul David Tierney, 138.9; 5. Clay Smith, 146.0; 6. Cody Doescher, 155.6; 7. Russell Cardoza, 158.5; 8. Kyle Lockett, 167.7.
ROUND 1: 1. K.C. Jones, 56.7 seconds; 2. Kyle Lockett, 57.2; 3. Daniel Green, 61.1; 4. (tie) Landon McClaugherty and JoJo LeMond, 65.4; 6. Dustin Bird, 66.4.
ROUND 2: 1. Russell Cardoza, 54.5 seconds; 2. Trell Etbauer, 56.8; 3. Landon McClaugherty, 57.2; 4. Paul David Tierney, 61.3; 5. Clayton Hass, 61.9; 6. Josh Peek, 64.8.
FASTEST ROUND LEADERS: 1. Russell Cardoza, 54.6 seconds; 2. K.C. Hones, 56.7; 3. Trell Etbauer, 56.8; 4. (tie) Kyle Lockett and Landon McClaugherty, 57.2; 6. Daniel Green, 61.6.
GUTHRIE, Okla. â€“ K.C. Jones has spent half his life coming to the Lazy E Arena every March to compete in the Timed Event Championship of the World.
Jones, 46, is in this exclusive field for the 23rd time in the eventâ€™s 30-year history. Heâ€™s one of two men who have earned the coveted championship five times. On Friday afternoon, he scrambled through the opening round of five runs in 56.7 seconds to take the early lead.
â€śThatâ€™s just the first five, and thereâ€™s 20 more,â€ť said Jones of Burlington, Wyo. â€śItâ€™s going to be real important and keep your horses working good here.â€ť
Jones is one of four former champions competing at the Lazy E this weekend; only 2010 winner Josh Peek is not among the top three. Jones is trailed by two-time titlist Kyle Lockett, who roped, tied and wrestled five head in 57.2 seconds, and three-time and reigning champ Daniel Green, who posted a 61.1-second round.
â€śThe bulldogging steers are running a little more; the calves are stronger than they were last year,â€ť Jones said. â€śThe tripping steers are not running quite as hard, but theyâ€™re not taking the tie as good as they have in past years. Itâ€™s going to be important to draw good.â€ť
Jones did. In fact, he was steady throughout each of the five runs â€“ after 23 years and five gold buckles, he understands the name of the game is staying away from mistakes.
But this is the most grueling test in rodeo, and sometimes these top-level cowboys let their competitiveness get in the way. That was the case with Timed Event rookie Cody Doescher of Oklahoma City, who was solid through the first four runs, posting a 40.3-second cumulative time. His final run of the round in steer roping became a little menacing; he had to trip his steer twice before he could secure the tie.
â€śI feel like I did pretty good,â€ť said Doescher, a 23-year-old heeler. â€śI made myself stay aggressive, but I got a little too aggressive in the steer roping, got in a hurry and fell pretty far behind. I have to step up my game a little bit.â€ť
Doescher is ninth in the standings, but heâ€™s learning rather quickly what a true challenge the Timed Event is.
1. K.C. Jones, 56.7 seconds; 2. Kyle Lockett, 57.2; 3. Daniel Green, 61.1; 4. (tie) Landon McClaugherty and JoJo LeMond, 65.4; 6. Dustin Bird, 66.4.