GUYMON, Okla. – The 2015 ProRodeo season was a bit of a dream for JoJo LeMond.
He earned his second straight qualification to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, then moved in as an injury replacement for Jake Barnes at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. In all, he finished sixth in steer roping and seventh in heading; most importantly, he was the reserve world champion all-around cowboy.
“I would love to go back to both of them,” said LeMond, who has competed four times at the NFR over his career. “I’m really going to try to win the all-around world championship.”
He’s on his way to earning that same title at the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo. Earlier this week, he earned the steer roping title to pocket $4,280. That gave him a head start on the rest of the cowboys who compete in multiple events.
On Friday night during the first of four performances, LeMond and heeler Kory Koontz of Sudan, Texas, posted the fastest team roping time with a 7.1-second run. That presents the opportunity to earn money in the third go-round, adding to LeMond’s Pioneer Days earnings.
“It would mean a lot to win the all-around here,” he said. “Anytime you can win the all-around at something like this or Cheyenne (Wyo.) or Salinas (Calif.) – somewhere that it’s a cowboy event – that’s great. You’ve got to be mounted well.
“Plus this is a really prestigious rodeo.”
He finished the 2015 season 16th in the heading standings. When Barnes was injured a week before the first round of the NFR, LeMond was called in to head for Barnes’ partner, Junior Nogueira. The two then put on quite a show in Las Vegas, earning more than $117,000 in 10 days. Now he’s roping with Kootz, who has 20 NFR qualifications under his belt.
“It’s a huge blessing to get to rope with him,” LeMond said of Koontz. “He’s been a hero of mine since I was a kid. It’s just a real honor.”
Being a kid would be a great way to describe saddle bronc rider Ryder Wright, the second son to two-time world champion Cody Wright of Milford, Utah. He turned 18 years old less than two months ago, began competing on his permit. Within a few weeks, he had earned enough money (at least $1,000) to be a full-fledged member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
On Friday night, he matched moves with Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Cool Runnings for 83.5 points, sharing the lead with Allen Boore of Axtell, Utah.
“I didn’t know anything about that horse, but (brother) Rusty, (uncle) Spencer and Dad all said he was good,” said Wright, who has been to every NFR since 2003 to watch his family compete; last year, the field of talented Wright bronc riders included Rusty, who made the NFR at age 20 and finished third in the final world standings.
Cody Wright won his world titles in 2008 and 2010; Spencer Wright earned the gold buckle in 2014; and another uncle, Jesse Wright, is the 2012 titlist. While it’s a bronc riding family, that wasn’t always the case for Ryder.
“My sixth-grade year, we started doing junior high rodeo,” Ryder Wright said. “I was just riding bulls; I was too scared to ride broncs. In the summer of my eighth-grade year, I got on a couple steers in the bronc saddle; that’s where I started. I did that for a few months, then I got on my first horse, and it’s been going good since then. I love it.”
It shows. It was also the Wright decision for him.
Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo
Results through the first performance
Bareback riding leaders: 1. Jake Brown, 89 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarlet’s Web; 2. Tranner Aus, 85; 3. Ty Breuer, 81; 4. Casey Breuer, 79.5; 5. Casey Colletti, 75; 6. Blaine Kaufman, 74.
Team roping: Third round leaders: 1. JoJo LeMond/Kory Koontz, 7.1 seconds; 2. (tie) Caleb Mitchell/Cody Thornton and Clayton Hass/Cody Doescher, 7.9; 4. Monty Wood/Brandon Gonzales, 8.7; 5. Jacob Dagenhart/Caleb Anderson, 13.3; no other qualified times. Aggregate leaders: 1. Clayton Hass/Cody Doescher, 22.8 seconds on three runs; 2. Monty Wood/Brandon Gonzales, 23.4; 3. Caleb Mitchell/Cody Thornton, 27.4; 4. JoJo LeMond/Kory Koontz, 32.3; 5. Jacob Dagenhart/Caleb Anderson, 45.1; 6. David Key/Travis Woodard, 13.8 seconds on two runs; 7. (tie) Adam Rose/Walt Woodard, 14.2.
Steer wrestling: Third round leaders: 1. Jacob Talley, 4.0 seconds; 2. Nick Guy, 4.2; 3. Seth Brockman, 4.5; 4. Jace Melvin, 5.0; 5. (tie) Sean Santucci and Cody Doescher, 5.2; 7. Tooter Silver, 8.8; 8. Jake Fulton, 13.8. Aggregate leaders: 1. Cody Doescher, 14.4 seconds on three runs; 2. Nick Guy, 15.0; 3. Jacob Talley, 15.3; 4. Seth Brockman, 16.3; 5. Sean Santucci, 17.9; 6. Tooter Silver, 18.6; 7. Jace Melvin, 21.9; 8. Jake Fulton, 23.4.
Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. (tie) Allen Boore, on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Gold Coast, and Ryder Wright, on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Cool Runnings, 83.5 points; 3. Brady Nicholes, 79; 4. Preston Burr, 77.5; 5. Spencer Wright, 75; 6. Shade Etbauer, 74; 7. Charlie Kogaines, 73; 8. Brody Cress, 70.
Tie-down roping: Third round leaders: 1. Cory Solomon, 8.5 seconds; 2. Robert Mathis, 8.8; 3. Cade Swor, 9.6; 4. Clint Cooper, 10.4; 5. (tie) Dalton Dunham and Jake Pratt, 11.4; 7. Shane Hanchey, 15.1; no other qualified times. Aggregate leaders: 1. Cade Swor, 25.2 seconds on three runs; 2. Robert Mathis, 31.0; 3. Cory Solomon, 32.6; 4. Clint Cooper, 33.1; 5. Jake Pratt, 40.6; 6. Dalton Dunham, 43.9; 7. Shane Hanchey, 45.4; 8. Sterling Smith, 17.0 seconds on two runs.,
Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Tori Morris, 17.36 seconds; 2. Sabrina Ketcham, 17.48; 3. Amy Jo Farella, 17.50; 4. Laura Kennedy, 17.57; 5. (tie) Morgan Breaux and Tassie Munroe, 17.59; 7. Teresa Turbeville, 17.80; 8. Becky Larson, 17.93; 9. Julie Burnett, 18.16; 10. Sara Bynum 22.76. Aggregate leaders: 1. Tori Morris, 35.17 seconds on two runs; 2 Laura Kennedy, 35.32; 3. Amy Jo Farella, 35.36; 4. Sabrina Ketcham, 35.28; 5. Tassie Munroe, 35.44; 6. Morgan Breaux, 35.47; 7. Katti Waters, 35.62; 8. Teresa Turbeville, 35.66; 9. Crana Roberts, 35.68; 10. Carollan Scott, 35.71.
Bull riding leaders: 1. Clay Wagner, 81 points on Lancaster & Jones’ Mongol; 2. Corey Atwell, 80; no other qualified rides.