The 17th annual Timed Event Championship (TEC), held March 9-11 at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., delivered the same brand of excitement its ...The 17th annual Timed Event Championship (TEC), held March 9-11 at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., delivered the same brand of excitement its ...
The 17th annual Timed Event Championship (TEC), held March 9-11 at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., delivered the same brand of excitement its stalwart fans have witnessed since its beginning. More than 23,000 attended this year’s edition, coming from at least 38 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and three Canadian provinces.
K.C. Jones, Santo, Texas, claimed this year’s Championship over 19 other invited all-around world-class cowboys, with a total time of 333.3. It was Jones’ fourth time to claim the honor.
It’s the TV performance. It’s the last round when the competing order changes from slowest to fastest.
Many times the title has been decided in the last round, several times on the last steer. Last year Trevor Brazile needed only 32.9 on his last steer for first, finished third. The year before less than two seconds separated the top two on the final head.
Jones knew the feeling. In ’95, he needed to tie his last steer in 57 seconds for first, and finished second. The only cinches are on saddles, not titles.
The top six coming in were: Jones, 267.3; Kyle Lockett, 289.9; Brazile, 300.8; Jason Stewart, 304.2; Daniel Green, 306.8, and Cash Myers, 308.4.
The entire go-round was electric. Every contender had a potentially difficult draw to handle. Every contestant still had opportunities to win go-round money. Myers was the only contender to move up in the average.
Jones, in charge of his own fate methodically, even deliberately, put away his five draws in 66 seconds and claimed his fourth Timed Event Championship of the World.
He finished with 333.3 seconds on his 25 head and won a $40,000 first-place check. He had logged the fourth and sixth-fastest go-round times, another $8,500 which boosted his 10-year TEC total to $251,000. That’s second to Paul Tierney, with whom he now shares the four-title record.
"I’m just so danged happy that everything worked out," Jones said. "In 25 runs there are so many things that can go wrong. I just happened to be the guy who less things went wrong for than anybody else.
"This is the first year I’ve won it when I took a 60," he continued. "If you’re going to go out, I guess it’s good to go out that early so you can climb back up the ladder. I was fortunate enough to do that."
But he hadn’t forgotten the ’95 title that slipped away.
"That made me really be a lot more careful," he smiled. "I wanted to make sure I didn’t go to counting my money before it was all over. I just wanted to stay focused and make smooth runs time after time."
Clem McSpadden, master of ceremonies for every TEC, presided over the presentations of the coveted Montana Silversmiths buckle and Trophy Tack saddle.
"This is truly an all-American family," McSpadden grinned, as Jones posed for photos with his wife, Melanie, and the Jones children.
Jones graciously acknowledged his helpers, signed autographs, and accepted congratulations from fellow contestants and fans.
Then, surrounded by his family and his parents Carl and Linda Jones, Ralston, Wyo., the Joneses made their way to the exit. The Timed Event Championship had crowned and celebrated its champion.
The early going competition
All contestants would love to start off the 25-head enduro with smooth, solid first-round performances. It didn’t happen that way.
Almost inexplicably, there were a dozen "60s" (the equivalent of a no-time) recorded in the first go. Many came where you wouldn’t predict; eight in the calf roping and steer wrestling, but none in the steer roping.
Veterans such as Cody Ohl, Brazile, Jones, Guy Allen, and Green found themselves looking down a long road of catch-up for the following rounds. Some youngsters started off doing pretty solid things. Second-year contestant Myers and first-timer Stewart led the round separated by only one-tenth of a second, but their times were nearly 15 seconds off the usual go-round pace, 70.6 and 70.7.
When the Friday matinee finally ended, there was almost a collective sigh of relief. Contestants regrouped, reevaluated and started making corrections.
The adjustments took. Everyone’s performances improved and only four 60s surfaced in the entire 100 runs. Things had started to gel. The rhythm grew stronger as the go-round progressed and nearly half the field turned in times better than the first round’s fastest.
Green carded a 51.2 on his five, and Stewart followed again with a 52.7 which buoyed him to the lead with 123.4 after two rounds. Myers was second, and ageless Tierney, four-time TEC champ, the only contestant to compete in all 17 TECs was lurking solidly in third, 16 seconds behind Stewart.
Probably the most shocking occurrence of the round was Allen’s 60 in the steer roping. The Legend, undisputed winningest steer roper of all time, waved off his first loop and necked with his second. People looked at one another in disbelief. Most had never seen it happen.
Middle rounds have traditionally hosted drastic changes in the leaderboard. The Saturday afternoon performance started innocently until Stewart’s calf got up. He’d apparently made a solid run, but during the tie, the calf pulled his legs tight against his belly. After Stewart signaled for time, the calf sloughed the string and kicked free. Myers followed in the heeling with 60.
Tierney, who broke a calf roping barrier in the first, had avoided major catastrophe, and quietly assumed the lead.
Jones was climbing the ladder back toward the top. After a calf-roping 60 in the first round, he established the third fastest time in the second go, then followed with a 51.5, fastest in the third. He was less than two seconds behind the average leader. Likewise, Lockett had torn two barriers in his first round, battled back to secure third.
The average stood Paul Tierney, 208.7; Jones, 210.1, Lockett, 217.9; with Green, Stewart, and Brazile following.
The fourth round is where tension always starts to rise. It’s the round that sets up the last round. It’s where things can change in quantum. Those who are out of the average are looking to win something another way. That only leaves the fastest eight times for the rounds or bonus money for arena records.
They’re looking over their draws and trying to figure whether to really try to go get ’em, or hang. Some are in positions where they can’t advance much, but they’ll get paid OK if they hang. Others have nothing won, and nothing to lose by goin’ every one. It’s characteristically a fast round.
It got wild, particularly among the leaders. Lockett’s heeler missed the first loop and had to build up. Stuart missed his calf with the first loop. Ohl got whacked by a bulldogging steer that set up and he took a 60.
Tierney struggled through a 16.6 in the heading and Jones logged 12.2. Jones now led by three seconds. He gained another four-tenths in the calf roping. They matched identical 9.4s heeling, and Jones bedded his bulldogging steer in 5.8.
Tierney needed to be solid, but when he reached for the steer’s nose, it slipped the inside horn by and got away. He sprinted to the end of the 400-foot arena, remounted, chased the steer down and threw it in 48.4. He dropped in the average from first to 10th.
Jones now led after four with 267.3, 22.6 seconds ahead of Lockett in second.
Myers turned in a spectacular round. Trying to redeem his earlier 60, he was quick through the heading, calf roping, and heeling, then slammed his dogging steer in 4.2 and knotted his tripping steer in 12.9 to log 47.4, fourth fastest go-round in TEC history, just five-tenths past the record.