ESTES PARK, Colo. – K.C. Jones won’t win a title at the Rooftop Rodeo this year, but that didn’t stop the Colorado-born cowboy from making his way to Estes Park.
On Wednesday night, the Decatur, Texas, cowboy wrestled his steer to the turf in 4.4 seconds to take the first-round lead in steer wrestling for the 90th edition of Rooftop Rodeo.
“I entered this rodeo for Wednesday night because I thought this was going to be a one-header,” Jones said, referring to one-round events. “I have to turn out my second steer, because I’m out in Calgary (Alberta) for the first set there Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.”
While most events at Rooftop Rodeo will feature one round, steer wrestlers will compete in two. Payouts will be made in each round, then to the top contestants in the two-run aggregate.
“It pays $100,000, and last year it fell over the Fourth (of July),” Jones said of Calgary. “This year it worked out that I’m just going to have to miss one steer.”
Still there’s a bit of a disappointment for the cowboy who was raised a few hours away.
“I grew up in Colorado, so I’ve been coming here since Little Britches Rodeo,” he said. “I was telling the guys in the rig that the good thing about Estes Park is there’s a lot to do.”
And the rodeo action is top flight. Wednesday’s performance featured numerous qualifiers to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, including world champions like saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy, bull rider Shane Proctor and tie-down ropers Shane Hanchey and Caleb Smidt.
“The (committee) really cares about the contestants,” Jones said. “They put shavings in the stalls, and the stalls are free. They have great hospitality and feed you all day long. You can tell they appreciate you coming to town. We appreciate the extra effort they put into catering to our needs.
“We spend a lot of money going to these rodeos. Any time we can get a break, we appreciate it a lot.”
It shows in the annual nominations for rodeo of the year and in the nearly 800 contestants that have signed up to compete at this year’s Rooftop Rodeo.
It also shows in the world-class competition in the Rocky Mountains.
Estes Park, Colo.
July 6-11, 2016
Leaders through first performance
Bareback riding: 1. Blaine Kauffman, 82 points on Cervi Rodeo’s Monkey Mistress; 2. Kody Lamb, 80; 3. (tie) Caleb Bennett, Orin Larsen and Tim O’Connell, 79 each; 6. Kyle Charley, 70; 7. Seth Coursen, 60; no other qualified rides.
Steer wrestling: 1. K.C. Jones, 4.4 seconds; 2. Cody Cabral, 4.6; 3. Ross Mosher, 5.4; 4. Mike McGinn, 5.9; 5. Ty Lang, 7.2; no other qualified times.
Team roping: 1. Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, 4.8 seconds; no other qualified times.
Saddle bronc riding 1. Jesse Bail, 81 points on Cervi Rodeo’s Hell’s Fire Hostage; 2. Rusty Wright, 79; 3. (tie) Jake Watson and Taos Muncy, 75; 5. Wyatt Casper, 74; 5. Louie Brunson, 72; 6. Dustin Flundra, 71.5; 7. Nat Stratton, 68; 8. Zeke Thurston, 61.
Tie-down roping: 1. Rhen Richard, 9.0 seconds; 2. Marshall Leonard, 9.1; 3. Braxton Laughlin, 9.6; 4. Cody Collins, 11.8; 5. Jim Breck Bean, 19.3; 6. Cy Eames, 21.6; no other qualified rides.
Barrel racing: 1. Cayla Melby, 18.16 seconds; 2. Lesley Chester, 18.56; 3. Heidi Tillard, 18.94; 4. Pollie Madden, 19.26; 5. Lake Mehalic, 20.52; 6. Hali Scott, 23.31; 7. Jane Melby, 25.16; 8. Rachel Dice, 28.13.
Bull riding: 1. Derek Kolbaba, 79 points on Cervi Rodeo’s Wolf Greeley Hat works; no other qualified rides.