Tradition and Today’s Top Timed Event Titans Collide at 40th Annual Ironman

Winning the first Timed Event Championship of the World ever held in 1985 was one of late roping revolutionary Leo Camarillo’s proudest career achievements. Camarillo struck again in 1989, and his 3.3-second TEC steer wrestling record set all the way back in 1986 still stands today. We roll into this week’s 40th annual Cinch Timed Event Championship knowing how proud The Lion was to have his name on that banner that will hang from the rafters of this fabulous Lazy E Arena for the rest of time alongside the rare few who’ve managed to climb and conquer the Timed Event mountain. 

“In my family, we were ropers first and ropers last,” Leo once told me. “But we took a lot of pride in gritting our teeth and bulldogging, too, not just to showcase ourselves, but also our horsemanship, technique and try. For me to go back to bulldogging country (Checotah, Oklahoma is the Steer Wrestling Capital of the World) and set a record that still stands is something I’ll go to my grave pretty proud of.”

That he did. And only 19 cowboys have laid claim to the title of Rodeo Ironman. There have been a handful of repeat champions. The great Trevor Brazile has won the prestigious Timed Event a record seven times. KC Jones, who at 56 is returning for another round in 2024 to show the young bucks how it’s done, owns five TEC buckles. Paul Tierney has four TEC titles; Jimmie Cooper and Daniel Green, three; and Kyle Lockett and Paul David Tierney join Camarillo at two titles each. 

But what we’ve seen in recent times—in today’s world of now predominantly single-event cowboy specialists, who will this year vie for $210,000 here—is that the list of cowboys capable of doing five-event battle has become increasingly rare as every event in rodeo today is tougher than ever before. It’s been Jess Tierney in 2017, Jordan Ketscher in 2018, Justin Thigpen in 2019, Taylor Santos in 2020, Marcus Theriot in 2021, Erich Rogers in 2022 and Cody Doescher in 2023. 

Cowboy King

“To me, the coolest thing about the Timed Event is that nobody goes into it without a weakness of some sort,” said Cowboy King Brazile. “Nobody rides into the Timed Event like they do every other event they enter throughout the year, because at this event you’re going to have to do some things you don’t have great comfort in doing. Part of who wins the Timed Event is about who handles being uncomfortable the best.”

Brazile’s 26 gold buckles put him in a league of his own in rodeo’s history books. How do those seven TEC titles rank?

“Those Timed Event titles mean a ton to me,” he said. “I’ve said throughout my career that I didn’t want to be labeled as anything other than a cowboy. The (world) all-around buckles and the Timed Event buckles mean the most, because of the versatility it takes to win both.”

What kind of cowboy wins the Timed Event, and the $100,000 champ’s check that goes with the coveted TEC title?

“Only a cowboy who’s really handy in all facets of rodeo, who’s also mentally tough, stands a chance,” Trevor said. “When you run 25 head in five events (heading, heeling, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and steer roping), a lot of stuff’s going to go wrong. It’s about who keeps rolling with the punches. I’ve had everything go wrong that possibly can at the Timed Event, just like everybody else. One of those years I won it, I took a 60 in the first event in the first round. You have to keep it all together in your head to be successful at the Timed Event.”

Older and Wiser 

Jones won his first Timed Event title in 1993, and his fifth in 2012. And hey, he was contending for another one last year before his steer rope broke in Round 4. 

“Heck, I wish I was 40 again,” Jones smiled. “I don’t care how old you are, you have to show up prepared. It’s 25 head, and you’re not going to draw at the top of the herd 25 times. You’re going to have to get by runners and whatever else they throw your way. 

“Nobody has ever lucked into winning the Timed Event. You better have some skills, and it’s a big mental game, too. Drawing up and down, and switching events so fast takes shifting your focus from event to event, and fast. You have to be able to react to all the curveballs that come your way. There are times you can make up some time, and other times when you need to just set up a run and stay steady. It all comes into play, including strategy and gamesmanship, at the Timed Event.”

Jones roped calves and heeled for Mark Simon at the 1991 National Finals Rodeo. He won the 1994 Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping Classic heeling for Kevin Stewart. How do his Timed Event titles stack up in the career of this equine dentist who’s worked on horses’ teeth for the likes of living rodeo legends Cody Ohl and Sherry Cervi?

“I love the Timed Event, it’s been good to me and I’m so thankful for that,” Jones said. “I didn’t always get to go rodeo the way I wanted to when I was younger. But I could always work a good share of the year and still go to the Timed Event. I always look forward to it, because it’s something big to work toward. I may be getting a little longer in the tooth, but I still have a few goals and dreams. I’m not done, and I’m not backing down.

“There’s a reason not many young guys win the Timed Event. It takes a long time to really get a foundation in each event, and there’s a lot of knowledge that you better have tucked in your head if you’re going to go win the Timed Event. If you only have one main event—like most guys today—you have to work your tail off to figure out the foundation and fundamentals in four more. And that’s not an overnight process.”

Patriarch PT

Paul Tierney was the 1979 world champion calf roper and the 1980 world champion all-around cowboy. He was victorious at four of the 29 Timed Events he competed in. 

“Getting to see cowboys compete in events they’re strong and weak in is part of what makes the Timed Event special to watch,” Tierney said. “We always talk about the mental game in our rodeo culture, and you get to see guys’ mental strengths and weaknesses at the Timed Event, too. There’s been an evolution at this event over the years. When the Timed Event first started, there were a lot of calf ropers and bulldoggers who had to learn to team rope to enter. The heeling is what eliminated a lot of guys back then. 

“Today, the Timed Event includes more team ropers who have to learn how to bulldog and steer rope to enter. That’s because team roping only became a standard event they have at every rodeo in recent times, and everybody ropes now. But they don’t all steer wrestle now, like we did 25 years ago. The steer wrestling has become more of a pitfall now than it was back in my day. That, and the steer roping.”

Tierney says the steer roping was his toughest event to tackle each year, because it was his weakest. That’s traditionally the 25th of 25 runs it takes to complete the Timed Event course. 

“All four years I won it, I was in the lead going into that last steer, and I was proud that I never failed to get my job done, even in my weakest event,” he said. “It takes a really disciplined person to win the Timed Event, and if you don’t have discipline, you will not be successful. Especially in 2024. Rodeo mode in my day and rodeo mode today are two very different things. These guys who rodeo today have to go so fast every time they nod their head. So you have to throw rodeo mode right out the window at the Timed Event now. This is not a one-header, and it’s not about winning go-rounds. The Timed Event is a marathon. It’s about making good runs, no matter what.

“I was always an all-around buff, and winning the all-around was my No. 1 goal. Larry Mahan and Phil Lyne were my heroes growing up, and I competed in six events at the College (National) Finals (Rodeo) one year. When I turned pro, I worked all three timed events (he roped calves, bulldogged and heeled), and steer roped when I could. Guys can be strong in even two or three events. But it takes five at the Timed Event, and that makes this event very special. These guys who compete at the Timed Event are the best all-around cowboys in the world. That’s why people come from far and wide to watch them compete. The cowboys who shine at the Timed Event are smart, strategic guys who outwork everybody. You have to be tough to win the Timed Event.”

Competition Junky 

Jimmie Cooper took the world all-around torch right after Tierney, in 1981. The dad of NFR team roping twins Jake and Jim Ross, and breakaway roping daughter, Jill Tanner, could not be more proud of his Timed Event accolades. 

“Winning the world all-around championship is the toughest thing there is to win, and the Timed Event Championship is right there with it,” Cooper said. “The Timed Event is on the same level as a world championship, and it gets respect because of that. I’m very proud to have won the Timed Event, and the list of guys who’ve won it is amazing. 

“I won that world all-around title the second year I rodeoed, and only rodeoed for seven years. When I quit rodeoing, the Timed Event really fit me better, because I didn’t have to stay out there on the road. I could really work toward that, and it gave me a lot of recognition without having to live on the road. The Timed Event took over a different season of my life, and I looked forward to going to the Lazy E to compete in it every year. Not all years went great, but those just lit a fire in me for the next one. We’re all competition junkies, and the Timed Event is right there with a world championship because of how hard it is to win.”

What do Timed Event champs have in common?

“Guys who win the Timed Event are consistently tough, and they can take the pressure,” Cooper said. “To perform at that level in five rounds of five events comes with a very high degree of difficulty. This isn’t a one-header where just anybody has a shot at success. And the Timed Event is one of a kind because of it.”

Missing in Action

There are two noticeably absent Cowboys who’ve been constant Timed Event contenders in recent times. Kyle Lockett’s a two-time TEC titlist, and is at 46 taking an injury time-out in 2024. Fellow Californian Lane Karney, who finished third last year and has several top-four finishes to his credit, raced home to his very pregnant wife, Jane, at Timed Event’s end last year to welcome their baby girl, Charlie, to the world and has since shifted his priorities. 

Lockett had a mishap at a match calf branding in November and, “I broke the long bone in my left shoulder, and haven’t been able to rope much since,” he said. “I did rope in the American qualifier (West Regional Finals) in Vegas the other day, but didn’t make it through. You can’t show up at the Timed Event thinking you’re going to half ass it and do any good. Running 25 head under those conditions—big arena, and big, fresh cattle over a long score—is no joke, and there aren’t very many people who can pull it off when they’re healthy. 

“The Timed Event separates the men from the boys, and I’m proud to be a part of its history. I love this event so much that if I had a chance to start all over again the morning after it ends, I’d stay every time. I’m planning on going back to the Lazy E and getting another W. I’m 46, but I can still do things 25-year-olds can do. 

“I got to be there to watch and compete against guys like Jimmie Cooper and Paul Tierney, and they beat us into their 50s. The best guys can win the Timed Event at any age, and there are actually advantages that come with more experience. When you’re running 25 head, you will be faced with things that have never happened to you before. An older, wiser veteran won’t panic when that happens, and that helps him react and get by things a young guy might not be able to handle.”

Since last year, the Karneys have launched a booming real estate business, and are laser-focused on that and their young family.

“It’s a brotherhood back there behind the Timed Event chutes, and I’ll treasure that feeling for the rest of my life,” said Lane, who’s big brother to 2020 TEC champ Santos, and will be his best man this fall when Taylor marries Paul’s daughter and 2020-21 Miss Rodeo America Jordan Tierney. “In today’s world of single-event cowboys, it’s pretty cool to compete alongside a group of guys who are willing to bear down and try it on in five events. I’m sure going to miss that Timed Event camaraderie, but have turned a page in my life, and am all in on the next chapter.”

“It’s a brotherhood back there behind the Timed Event chutes, and I’ll treasure that feeling for the rest of my life,” said Lane, who’s big brother to 2020 TEC champ Santos, and will be his best man this fall when Taylor marries Paul’s daughter and 2020-21 Miss Rodeo America Jordan Tierney. “In today’s world of single-event cowboys, it’s pretty cool to compete alongside a group of guys who are willing to bear down and try it on in five events. I’m sure going to miss that Timed Event camaraderie, but have turned a page in my life, and am all-in on the next chapter.”

Generation Next

Three-time TEC titlist Daniel Green joins Camarillo, Lockett, Santos and Ketscher in the category of Timed Event champs from California. Though Daniel has retired from Timed Event battle himself, he’ll suit up to serve as heading and heeling help for his son, Eli, in this year’s Junior Ironman, which will pay the winner $20,000. 

“I miss being back in my prime, and the ability to compete at that highest, maximum level,” Daniel said. “I miss the excitement that comes with competing at the Timed Event. That was a great time in my life, and to have that versatility and mental strength to deal with the things that don’t always go right in 25 rounds meant a lot to me. You have to let the tough stuff go, and keep moving forward at the Timed Event. 

“To win the Timed Event, you’ve got to be prepared physically and mentally, and you might need a break or two to go your way while you’re at it. Drawing the right steer or calf at the right time, or having the ball bounce your way when you need it to come in very handy at the Timed Event. There’s no way it’s all going to go perfectly over 25 runs, so being able to leave the bad stuff behind and go on to the next run is key. You can’t look back, and can only look forward. I never did well when I was trying to chase somebody, and trying to make things happen usually led to more mistakes. There will be bobbles in 25 rounds, but staying solid is the better bet at this event.”

Green has an inside joke with his breakaway roping friends that references the Timed Event champion banners that hang above this Lazy E Arena.

“I say, ‘If you want to be solid, rope them under Kyle’s banner,” Green grinned. “But if you want to win, you’ve got to rope them under my banner.”

Daddy Daniel is excited about Eli’s first hurrah in this arena that’s held such a special spot in his heart. The Junior Ironman is a 12-round contest—three each in heading, heeling, steer wrestling and tie-down roping. 

“This is Eli’s first year, and it’ll be pretty cool for me to get back in this building with him,” Daniel said. “It’ll be a pretty special occasion for our family for me to see my son doing something I loved so much. You can watch something all you want, but we’ll just have to see how he feels when he gets into it. With the rule change that an adult can help the kids, which is new this year, it’ll be that much more special and memorable to be down in the dirt with my son.”

Fab Five

Like everything else in rodeo, the Timed Event will become harder to win over time as every event gets tougher. The last five years are living proof of that fact, with Thigpen striking in 2019, Santos getting the win in 2020, Theriot coming out on top in 2021, Rogers proving he’s more than a header in 2022 and Doescher becoming the first home-stater ever to get the TEC win for Oklahoma last year. A little-known Timed Event trivia fact is that Mike Beers was the first TEC rookie to win the title in 1986, and Thigpen and Santos are just the second and third cowboys ever to follow suit. 

Thigpen and his wife were just starting to build a new house for their family when he hit the 2019 Timed Event jackpot.

“Maybe we won’t have to go to the bank for a loan now,” he beamed in the TEC winner’s circle.

Santos was coming off of his first NFR qualification in the tie-down roping in 2019 when he won $103,000 at his first Timed Event in 2020, just as COVID was shutting down rodeo with the rest of the world. 

“It makes me proud to carry on a great tradition started by legends like Leo Camarillo, who was a close family friend, and carried on by guys like the best there’s ever been, Trevor Brazile,” said Santos, who went to Brazile’s for a pre-TEC tune-up before his first one. “Timed Event contestants are the kind of cowboys who’d come in handy if you needed help on the ranch.”

Theriot just qualified for his first NFR heading for Cole Curry in 2023. 

“The Timed Event is the biggest, most prestigious event I’ve ever won,” he said at TEC 2021’s end. “There aren’t many chances to get it done, and only one guy wins it every year. People ask me what it takes to win it now that I know, and I tell them, ‘A lot of patience, concentration and just staying focused. I definitely feel like you have to be made for this event to win it.’”

Rogers has experienced about every emotion at the Timed Event, from the low of blowing out a knee bulldogging at the 2018 TEC, to finally finding the finish line in first place in 2022. 

“The Timed Event is one of the premier events a guy can go to to show off your talent and versatility,” Rogers said. “You’re taking on not only the toughest set of all-around cowboy competitors in the world, but the cattle they bring in for this event also. They’re big and strong and tough, too.”

Doescher’s Sooner State W meant the literal world to his family.

“This is life-changing for us,” he said. “We live in a single-wide, and we’re trying to get out of it because we’ve outgrown it with three kids. We’re trying to get a place either bought or built. This money couldn’t have come at a better time. We’ve never seen this much money at one time.”

There’s never a bad time for a windfall $100,000 win. And with a tip of the hat to 40 years of tradition, the 2024 Timed Event titans are here to make more history. 

Oklahoma’s Cody Doescher Pulls Off Cinch Timed Event First

The 2023 Cinch Timed Event Championship winner’s circle was a happy place for Oklahoma’s own Cody Doescher. Lazy E Photo by James Phifer

He did it. Oklahoma City’s Cody Doescher won the 2023 Cinch Timed Event Championship, and kept the Ironman of Pro Rodeo crown in the Sooner State for the first time since this ultimate cowboy contest started at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie back in 1985. It took Doescher 10 tries to take the $100,000 champ’s check home, and the 30-minute commute made it easy for family and friends to be there to cheer on their hometown hero. 

“This is by far the biggest win of my career,” beamed a breathless 32-year-old Doescher at event’s end. “I’m not rodeoing that hard anymore, so to even be here is a blessing. To come out on top is unbelievable.”

Before now, the biggest check of Doescher’s cowboy career was for $50,000, when he won the team roping at RodeoHouston heeling for Tommy Edens in 2011. The best news about that was a banner bank deposit. The bad news was that Houston was not sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association at that time, so the money didn’t count toward the world standings. 

Heading and tie-down roping are the two TEC events Doescher has worked the least.
Lazy E Photo by James Phifer

The financial fact that jumps off the page about Doescher’s Timed Event track record is that in nine previous appearances, his total CTEC earnings were $12,500. 

“I won a round last year, and have placed in some rounds over the years,” Doescher said. “But winning fifth one year was the only time I’d ever placed in the average before now.” 

Life-Changing Money

Doescher changed all that by dragging down a whopping $107,000 at this year’s 39th annual Cinch Timed Event Championship. After a slow start in Round 1, in which he finished 15th, Doescher rebounded with the Round 2 win, and second-place finishes in Rounds 3 and 4. He placed fifth in Round 5 to close the deal, but not before taking the air out of the building with a first-loop neck catch on his last steer roping run right there at the finish line. 

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When the red-dirt Lazy-E dust settled after 25 runs—five rounds each in heading, tie-down roping, heeling, steer wrestling and steer roping—Doescher’s 312.7 bested the 20-Timed-Event-titan field. California native Russell Cardoza, who now calls Oregon home, was the 2023 reserve CTEC champ at 321.7 on 25 for $25,000. 

Russell Cardoza finished third in 2022, and took it up a notch to second in 2023.
Russell Cardoza finished third in 2022, and took it up a notch to second in 2023.
Lazy E Photo by James Phifer

California’s Lane Karney, who’s big brother to 2020 CTEC titlist Taylor Santos, finished third for $15,000. Nebraska’s Riley Wakefield, who had an impressive showing at his first Timed Event, won $10,000 for fourth. Fellow CTEC first-timer Nelson Wyatt rounded out the top-five 2023 finishers to take $7,500 back to Alabama. 

Doescher’s Day Job

Interesting is that this year’s Timed Event top three don’t rodeo for a living, which after years on the road is something new for Doescher and Cardoza. Doescher has a family and a job now. He and his wife, Courtney, have three kids to raise in Paizley, 11, Rance, 7, and Holten, 2. 

“I’m a ring man, which means I stand there and take bids,” Cody said of his day job. “I work horse and car auctions all over the country. My auction career is taking off like crazy, and I’m staying super busy with that. I still have a goal to make the steer roping finals once we get a place bought. But for now, it’s about making money and providing for my family.”

It was perfect timing for this windfall win.

“This money is life-changing for us,” Doescher said. “We’ve outgrown the single-wide we live in, and have been looking to buy a place. I couldn’t ask for anything more right now.”

The Difference for Doescher

What was the difference that put him over the top in his 10th trip to the Timed Event?

“For me, it was the mental game,” Doescher said. “To win this thing, you’ve got to draw good, for one. For two, you have to be mentally tough and disciplined. Toward the end, Tyler Pearson told me, ‘Don’t let the moment control you. You control the moment.’ I just tried to relax, do my job and stay out of the moment until it was over. 

Lane Karney bulldogged in high school and college, and now jumps steers once a year at the Timed Event.
Lane Karney bulldogged in high school and college, and now jumps steers once a year at the Timed Event.
Lazy E Photo by James Phifer

“What he said really hit home for me after the calf roping, especially going into my three most comfortable events (heeling, steer wrestling and steer roping) right there at the end. That helped my mindset so much. My mind was so much different this year, and it’s unbelievable the amount of support I’ve gotten. The support system of family and friends I have, and the help they’ve given me is unbelievable.”

Now that Cody’s cleared the obstacles that stand between 25 runs and success, he’s in even more awe over what sets this event apart from all others.

“Guys have to get outside their comfort zones at the Timed Event,” he said. “You have to be mentally and physically strong. You have to be able to score, you have to have good horses, and you have to use your horses. This is not just a go-fast deal where you can get lucky. It’s 25 head over three days, and staying mentally strong that long has been a struggle of mine. I finally got it all put together.”

Horse and Human Helpers

Doescher rode Adam Hubler’s buckskin head horse in the heading; his own mare, Ginger, in the heeling; Kyle Myers’ calf horse, Casino; David Reagor’s bulldogging horse, Vanilla Ice; and his own steer horse, Holyfield. 

You’ll typically see Riley Wakefield in the tie-down roping at the rodeos these days, but he’s also a #9 heeler.
You’ll typically see Riley Wakefield in the tie-down roping at the rodeos these days, but he’s also a #9 heeler.
Lazy E Photo by James Phifer

In addition to the horses, there are the human helpers it takes to tackle the Timed Event. NFR heeler Douglas Rich headed and heeled for Doescher in the team roping, and Reagor lined his steer wrestling steers. 

Doescher didn’t take the lead until four rounds into the five-round CTEC marathon. 

“I just tried to stick to my game plan, no matter what,” he said. “I knew I had to stay aggressive and stick to my game, no matter what anybody else did. All I tried to do, start to finish, was my job.

“I wanted to relax, and not get frustrated or press unless I had to. The plan was to not beat myself, and to just go beat every steer and every calf, and do what I know how to do and not get too far out of my comfort zone. I wanted to rope aggressive, use my horses and be smart, all at the same time.”

Nelson Wyatt is trying to win a world team roping title this year, but he did it all at the Timed Event.
Nelson Wyatt is trying to win a world team roping title this year, but he did it all at the Timed Event.
Lazy E Photo by James Phifer

Lazy E Local

Doescher’s a lifelong local at the Lazy E. 

“This place is unbelievable,” he said. “I’ve been coming to the Lazy E since I was a little kid, and had a lot of success here when I was younger. I love the Lazy E. It’s like a second home to me.”

What did Doescher learn about himself at the 2023 Timed Event that he didn’t know before?

“I learned that I’m capable of being a lot more mentally strong than I thought,” he said. “I wanted to trust in the Lord, know that He’s got me and just be mentally stable.

“If I had to pick one word for this win, it would be ‘blessed.’ To see the names up there (on the past Timed Event champions banners) in the rafters of the Lazy E, and think that I’ll be up there amongst them, is an unbelievable feeling I’ve never had before.”

Cowboy Young Guns

This year’s Jr Ironman presented by WCRA, which is three rounds in four events—heading, tie-down roping, heeling and steer wrestling—was won by a familiar face to longtime Lazy E fans. Arizona’s Ketch Kelton set the new 107.4-second gold standard on 12 head en route to the $20,000 payday, which rewrites the record set by 2022 Jr Ironman Champ Clay Clayman, who won last year’s event in 111.2 seconds. 

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Kelton was the cute little 5-year-old kid chasing cattle out on the paint pony a dozen years ago at the 2011 Timed Event. He’s the son of Chance and Tammy Kelton, and little brother to big sister Kenzie. Chance Kelton is a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo header, and five-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier. He competed at the Timed Event 12 straight years, from 1999 through 2011. 

Ketch Kelton won his first Jr Ironman in record time.
Lazy E Photo by James Phifer

Missouri’s Clayman finished second only to Kelton in 2023, but the margin of victory was wide, with Clayman finishing 55.2 seconds behind Kelton at 162.6, after taking a 60 in the final round of heading. (buy ambient music)   

It was a tight, two-man fight most of the way in the Jr Ironman. Clayman topped Round 1, but Kelton stayed within striking distance at less than three seconds back in second. Ketch countered with the Round 2 win, and took the average lead over Clayman—barely—72.4 on eight run to Clay’s 73.7.

Texan Kreece Dearing topped Round 3, but Kelton took the wheel in the driver’s seat and never took his foot off the gas. He finished second in Round 3, and all told left the Lazy E $21,250 richer. Clayman earned $5,000 for his second-place finish, and Tennessee’s Conner Griffith cashed a $2,000 check for third in the Jr Ironman average. 

No stranger to the winner’s circle, Ketch is the reigning National High School Rodeo Association All-Around Cowboy. 

“This is my best win so far, because my dad came here and I always came here with him and wanted to be here,” said the 17-year-old high school junior, who competed in the Jr Ironman for the first time in 2023. “I love this event. Doing every event back-to-back-to-back makes it fun.”

Kelton’s Cowboy Village

Kelton headed and heeled on his horse Boone, roped calves on a Brent Lewis-trained horse, and bulldogged on Damian Padilla’s steer wrestling horse. World Champion Header Aaron Tsinigine headed for Kelton in the heeling, and two-time CTEC titlist Kyle Lockett heeled for him in the heading. World Champion Steer Wrestler Pearson, who sat out this year’s Timed Event to get healed up from a broken collarbone, handled Kelton’s hazing.  

Ketch attends a construction trade school in the mornings, and the Keltons rope as a family in the afternoons. Team roping is their main event, although switch-ender supreme Ketch can’t quite decide if he’d rather head or heel just yet. They rope a few calves when they can, and leave the steer wrestling to the high school rodeos. In addition to team roping—he’s heading for Denton Dunning this year—Kelton also enters the tie-down roping, steer wrestling and reined cow horse at the high school rodeos. 

Ketch says his next goal is to try and defend his NHSRA all-around title. The ultimate, he says, is to “just do what I love.”

“I love the Jr Ironman,” said Kelton, whose young cowboy life has been most influenced by his dad and Grandpa Willy Kelton, “who’s just always been there, and stays so positive. 

“I love the Lazy E, and this big, long score. I had a game plan coming in to just catch everything, and get ’em all knocked down with no penalties. We got it done, so that feels pretty good. I have no idea what I’m going to do with this money. But I guess that’s a pretty good problem to have.”

Expect the Unexpected

If there is one thing you can count on at the Cinch Timed Event Championship and Jr Ironman, it’s that anything can happen. The 2023 event had it all, from the impressive success of newcomers to broken ropes for KC Jones and Cole Patterson to witnessing World Champion Header Colby Lovell sprint the length of that 440-foot Lazy E Arena in hot pursuit of winning a grueling game of beat the clock with a salty steer wrestling steer. 

Colby Lovell’s toughness was tested at the Timed Event, and he refused to say die.
Colby Lovell’s toughness was tested at the Timed Event, and he refused to say die.
Lazy E Photo by James Phifer

We’ve all come to expect the unexpected from the cowboy gladiators handy and tough enough to take on the Timed Event. And that makes for great watching.

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