GUTHRIE, Okla. – If anybody in this year’s CINCH Timed Event Championship field has a bigger smile than Dustin Bird, it might be Paul David Tierney.
After three rounds of a back-and-forth battle with seven-time champion Trevor Brazile, Tierney heads into Saturday night’s fourth round with a 1.6-second lead. He also owns the fastest round time, capitalizing on his 50.8-second third go-round.
“I’m really enjoying it,” Tierney said of his race with Brazile. “He keeps pushing you and doesn’t let up; that’s the best part. It drives you to just keep doing what you do, and it’s back-and-forth with him.”
It has been fun. Tierney has roped, tied and wrestled 15 animals in a cumulative time of 165.0 seconds. He and Brazile are nearly 50 seconds better than the field, led by the No. 3 man in Bird, who posted a 51.1 Saturday afternoon to make a run with two go-rounds remaining in the “Ironman of ProRodeo.”
“I just want to slow down and get them down no matter what,” Bird said, pointing out that he has yet to take a 60-second marking, the equivalent to a no-time in this unique championship. “I’ve been long in a few events, and that’s what’s kept me down a little. I just keep going and never get done.
“You back in (the timed-event box), see the start and go out and make the best run you can. At the end of the game, you’re better off than you thought.”
It takes a considerably different mindset than the typical rodeo cowboy deals with in most competitions. Take the National Finals Rodeo, where speed is a necessity.
“At the NFR … you go fast every time and throw caution to the wind,” said Bird, now in his fifth year competing in the Timed Event. “Here it’s about getting everything down and not make any mistakes. The less mistakes you make, the better off you’ll be.”
Tierney knows that well. Not only did he watch his father, Paul, win four Timed Event crowns, he earned this championship two years ago. In addition, he was the runner-up in 2013 and 2015. He knows that being consistent is vital in this grueling challenge.
“It’s the most important thing,” Tierney said. “You can’t change it up and try to go faster; you just try to be smooth and do your job.
“You take care of your stuff and don’t worry about what’s going on around you. I’m just taking care of my business.”
It’s a winning formula.
Average Leaders: 1. Paul David Tierney, 165.0 seconds; 2. Trevor Brazile, 166.6; 3. Dustin Bird, 214.4; 4. Kyle Lockett, 221.5; 5. Rhen Richard, 222.5; 6. Cody Doescher, 230.8; 7. Josh Peek, 231.5; 8. Cash Myers, 243.1.
Fastest Round Leaders: 1. Paul David Tierney, 50.8 seconds; 2. (tie) Trevor Brazile and Dustin Bird, 51.1; 4. Kyle Locket, 51.6; 5. Landon McClaugherty, 52.2; 6. Cody Doescher, 52.8.