11. Trell Etbauer
Just looking at his horsepower, you can see that Trell Etbauer is a horseman.
He also is one heck of a cowboy, something that has been passed down through the Etbauer clan. Though they made their names in saddle bronc riding, Robert, Billy and Dan Etbauer have been all-around cowboys all their lives. That legacy has been passed on to the next generation, which includes Trell.
He is the son of Robert, a two-time world champion bronc rider. Growing up primarily in Goodwell, Okla., Trell Etbauer is prolific in numerous rodeo disciplines. Not only is he a four-time Linderman Award winner for excelling in both timed and roughstock events, he also has transitioned quite well into an all-around timed-event cowboy.
He’s shown it to thousands over the years during the CINCH Timed Event Championship. In fact, he’s been in contention for this coveted gold buckle. Over the course of his tenure inside the Lazy E Arena for this unique competition, Etbauer has pocketed $6,500.
It might be the perfect year for the Oklahoma cowboy to add to that.
12. Clayton Hass
The steer wrestling world championship race is regularly one of the most contested events in ProRodeo, and Clayton Hass was right in the middle of it in 2015.
Hass entered the National Finals Rodeo this past December as the No. 1 bulldogger in the game. While in Las Vegas, the Texas cowboy placed in four go-rounds, and he made the most of them. He won the third and sixth go-rounds, then placed in the seventh and eighth rounds.
Through the 10 days in the Nevada desert, Hass pocketed $79,000 and pushed his season paycheck to $184,296. He finished fifth in the world standings. That’s not too bad for a cowboy making just his second appearance at the NFR.
Over the last several years, Hass has refined his all-around game inside the Lazy E Arena during the CINCH Timed Event Championship. The results have shown brightly in both the CINCH TEC and in ProRodeo. He finished sixth in the 2015 all-around world standings.
Hass has some unfinished business left over from 10 days in Las Vegas. He’d love nothing more than to wrap it up in a nice bow at the “Ironman of ProRodeo.”
13. Cody Doescher
When Cody Doescher was a little boy growing up in the Oklahoma City area, he knew he wanted to be a cowboy.
He’s living his dreams, and all that remains are the gold buckles that are awarded to world champions. Those coveted trophies are earned, and there’s no greater place to start the process than inside the Lazy E Arena at the CINCH Timed Event Championship.
Through the Timed Event’s 32-year history, no Oklahoma cowboy has ever earned its championship. Doescher would like to change that this weekend.
He regularly competes in multiple disciplines and travels with fellow Timed Event competitor Clayton Hass, his team roping partner this season. Doescher has had success all along the way, including a 2011 victory in the $50,000 round at RodeoHouston while roping with Tommy Edens.
As a youngster, he won the National Junior Team Roping Championship in 2006 and claimed the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association’s team roping titles in 2007-08. And as he’s shown over the last two Timed Events, he can handle just about any challenge in front of him.
He’s up for it again.
14. JoJo LeMond
For several years, JoJo LeMond has become a CINCH Timed Event Championship fan favorite, and there are plenty of reasons for it.
The West Texas cowboy showcases some amazing overall talents while also shining his brilliant personality on the Lazy E Arena crowd. Throw in his affection for going fast, and there are sorts of incentives for fans to stand on their feet when he prepares for the competition.
He is a six-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier, having earned 2014-15 trips to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. He returned to the NFR this past season after finishing 16th in the heading world standings, then became an injury replacement for seven-time world champ Jake Barnes.
In Las Vegas this past December, LeMond and Barnes’ heeling partner, Junior Nogueira, made a serious run at the world title. They placed in eight go-rounds and finished third in the NFR average, pocketing more than $117,400 each. LeMond finished seventh in the final world standings.
He also placed second in the NFSR average and finished sixth in the steer roping standings. He finished the season with combined earnings of $261,281 to finish second in the all-around. It’s all the proof anyone needs to see why he’s a fan favorite and why he will be in the mix until the final run of the CINCH TEC in 2016.
15. Dustin Bird
Dustin Bird took advantage of his northern Montana home and ventured into Canada a little more in 2015.
It paid off with a big victory in Grand Prairie, Alberta, with fellow Montanan Chase Tryan. The tandem also finished second in Leduc, Alberta, and collected more than $3,500 in the process. Both events were dual-sanctioned, meaning money earned there counted toward qualifications for both the National Finals Rodeo and the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
Bird had four other championships in 2015, including an all-around title in Augusta, Mont. Though he didn’t quite qualify for either the NFR or CFR, he fared well enough throughout the year, finishing the season 28th in the world standings.
Making his fourth straight appearance in the CINCH Timed Event Championship, Bird is excited to see what these three magical and rugged days bring to him. The test is real, with 25 runs over three exhausting days.
Bird knows the test, and the passing grade comes in the form of a big paycheck.
16. Cade Swor
Cade Swor always finds himself among the very best in any competition in which he competes.
Take the fourth go-round at this past National Finals Rodeo. The Texas tie-down roper had placed on opening night of the 2015 ProRodeo championship event, then watched a couple of rounds get away from him. He took advantage of his fourth run of the finale by roping and tying his calf in 7.2 seconds to share the Round 4 victory.
That’s tougher than most can imagine when competing against the very best in the game, but it’s a reason why he’s been part of the CINCH Timed Event Championship field.
Swor was an NFR fixture from 2004-06, then went eight years before returning to Las Vegas. He’s made back-to-back NFR qualifications. This past December, he earned just shy of $39,000, with every dollar coming in the go-rounds.
He finished the season with $126,796, good enough for 13th on the final money list. When he arrives at the Lazy E Arena in March for his second-straight CINCH TEC, he’ll be looking to add to his bank account.
17. Jim Ross Cooper
Fifteen years ago, Jim Ross Cooper was a big part of the CINCH Timed Event Championship of the World.
He was one of three teenagers assigned to helping his legendary father, Jimmie Cooper, the 1981 PRCA all-around world champion and ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee. Jim handled the heeling duties for Dad, while twin brother Jake was the header; the third was E.P. Luchsinger, the hazer in steer wrestling.
He returns as a contestant for the third time, having been in the mix in 2011-12. He’s earned the right to be part of the elite 20 in the “Ironman of ProRodeo.” Just like his father – Jimmie Cooper was a three-time Timed Event champion – he grew up surrounded by rodeo. He has watched all-around excellence all his life.
Now a five-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier, Jim Ross Cooper is a proven winner. A year ago, he just missed the finale, finishing 20th in the world standings. This year he is roping with JoJo LeMond, a Timed Event fan favorite who finished as the reserve world champion all-around cowboy in 2012.
In all, Jim Ross Cooper has proven he deserves to be in this field. He grew up inside the walls of the Lazy E Arena. He’s dang ready to show everybody why he’s chasing the coveted title.
18. Ryan Watkins
Though he’s known as one of the top tie-down ropers in ProRodeo, Ryan Watkins is the perfect fit for the Cinch Timed Event Championship field.
The premier indicators are his 2004 all-around and tie-down roping titles at the College National Finals Rodeo. Nobody can compete at the most prestigious intercollegiate rodeo without amazing skills, much less claim the most cherished crown.
Of course, one doesn’t grow up in northwestern Nebraska without having some strong skills. It takes a rugged cowboy to handle that terrain and all that comes with it, and Watkins is all that. Since graduating from Tarleton State University, Watkins has been a solid competitor in ProRodeo. Twice he’s earned qualifications to the National Finals Rodeo. His first trip to Las Vegas came in 2009, the same year he won the $50,000 round at RodeoHouston. At the NFR, Watkins placed in five rounds and finished 13th in the world standings.
When he returned to Sin City in 2014, he placed fourth in the average and 13th in the final standings. That same year, he was inducted into Tarleton’s Rodeo Hall of Fame.
19. Rhen Richard
There’s no doubt about it: Rhen Richard is versatile. That’ll come in handing during the 2016 Cinch Timed Event Championship.
The Utah cowboy was the 2008 Resistol Heeling Rookie of the Year. For five straight years, he was among the top 35 in the world standings in that discipline.
In 2013, Richard made the move to header, and continued to be among ProRodeo’s elite, finishing 22nd in the world standings that year, 25th in 2014 and 32nd last season. Every year, he is among the top all-around cowboys in the game. In fact, he has finished as high as seventh, which occurred two seasons ago.
Only two things are missing from his resume: a qualification to the National Finals Rodeo and competing at the Cinch Timed Event Championship. He crosses the latter off his list in 2016.
Richard also has finished among the top 40 in the tie-down roping world standings each of the last four years, so he has the ability to make a significant run during the Cinch TEC. It’s why everyone is excited to see him in this field.
20. Brodie Poppino
Brodie Poppino is a second-generation ProRodeo cowboy, competing in the sport he loves just like his mother and father.
Marty Poppino has been around the game for decades and has been one of the top cowboys to have never qualified for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping. Tana Poppino is a three-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in barrel racing.
Brodie Poppino is following in those footsteps well. In 2013, he was the Resistol Steer Roping Rookie of the Year; he has followed that terrific season with two straight qualifications to the steer roping finale.
Make no mistake, though; Poppino is much more than a steer roper. In fact, he competed in tie-down roping, team roping and steer wrestling while in college at Western Oklahoma State College and Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
He’s young, eager and is the perfect fit to match his overall talent against the other 19 men in this field.