Tonight’s the night we crown the 2021 Cinch Timed Event Championship winner! Oklahoma native Clay Smith struck for his second round win of the week, and with 48.4 seconds took Round 4 in the fastest five-run total thus far. With 265.8 seconds on 20 runs, Oregon’s Roger Nonella now leads the field heading into tonight’s Timed Event finale, Round 5. But regardless of who takes this year’s Timed Event title, there are some unsung heroes behind the scenes here at the Lazy E who deserve to be recognized for their unselfish hands in making it happen. Three such cowboys behind this year’s Timed Event Titans are Will McBride, Tyler Pearson and Hunter Cure.
McBride hauled three steer roping horses—8 Bills and Flaxy, plus brother-in-law Scott Saults’ Rocket—here from his home in Ogallala, Nebraska, and mounted past TEC champs Daniel Green, Jordan Ketscher and Justin Thigpen, and Jace Melvin. By the way, 8 Bills got his name because McBride bought him as a 5-year-old for $800 at the local sale barn 16 years ago.
“The reward of getting to know the guys I loan my horses to is worth more than anything money can buy,” said McBride, 56, who was out back at the barns at midnight last night shoeing the hazing horse ProRodeo Hall of Famer Ote Berry’s riding here to help California brothers Taylor Santos and Lane Karney (McBride refused payment). “I’m a guy who 20-25 years ago probably should have been here. This is a phenomenal event. They still let cattle out there, and use all of this big arena. The Timed Event is the ultimate cowboy contest.”
These aren’t their third-stringers these guys are offering other cowboys here. McBride’s placed on 8 Bills in the steer roping average at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo three times and the Pendleton Round-Up twice, and won the National Circuit Finals Steer Roping on him in 2018. Thigpen rode Flaxy for the Timed Event win here in 2019.
Between the Jr Ironman and the Cinch Timed Event, Pearson of Atoka, Oklahoma, is hazing for 11 bulldoggers—Briar Teague and Chisum Allen in the Jr Ironman, and Marcus Theriot, Clayton Hass, Erich Rogers, Russell Cardoza, Kyle Lockett, Jordan Ketscher, Haven Meged, K.C. Jones and Tyler Waters in the Timed Event—here this week. Why?
“I wanted to come check it out, because I want to try and enter the Timed Event next year,” said 2017 World Champion Steer Wrestler Pearson, who brought bulldogging horses Tubby and Brother, and hazing horses Finny and Olaf with him. “I brought a couple of young hazing horses out here that are good, but haven’t been to any rodeos yet. This was good for them. I’m not here for the money. I like helping guys out, and it’s good to get these young horses out while I’m at it.”
Cure won both of his 2013 and 2015 world steer wrestling championships on the back of his prized horse Charlie. Old Charlie’s been coming through with flying colors for Smith in the bulldogging here at the E.
“Charlie’s 22 now,” Cure said. “He’s got the heart to still be out there rodeoing, just not the wheels anymore. But he’s perfect here. We’ve been working on Clay’s bulldogging since January, and that’s when I started legging Charlie up, too.
“I’ve enjoyed helping Clay here this week. We’ve both had some success in the arena, so there’s a mutual professional respect there. That relationship has grown into a friendship outside the arena, too. Clay called me when he left this event unsatisfied last year. Glad I could be here to help.”
BY KENDRA SANTOS
Kendra Santos has written about cowboys all her life, including longtime stints with the PRCA, PBR, BFI and The Team Roping Journal. She’s also mom to two 2021 Timed Event Championship cowboys, Lane Karney and Taylor Santos.