GUYMON, Okla. – Saturday night’s third performance of the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo began precisely at 7:30 p.m.
The rain started moments thereafter, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the contestants in the mix and the thousands of fans in the stands. While many people ran for cover as the thunderstorm hit, they stuck around the best they could to partake in the biggest event to hit the Oklahoma Panhandle each spring.
Meanwhile, Jake Long and Clay Smith were trying to figure out the best way to handle their situation.
“I tried to stay in the trailer as long as I could,” said Long, an eight-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in heeling from Coffeyville, Kansas. “It’s not the most fun thing to get rained on when you have to run one, but like anything, once you’re out in it, it’s fine.”
Neither he nor his header let any of it bother them during their ran-dampened Saturday night, posting a 5.2-second run – the fastest of the rodeo so far. They took the third-round lead and sit fourth in the average with a three-run cumulative time of 32.6 seconds on three runs.
“Most of our success there was with the draw,” said Smith, the reigning world champion header and four-time NFR qualifier from Broken Bow, Oklahoma. “We had a pretty good one. It waited on us and let us have a chance. You have to have a cow like that to be 5 (seconds) in those conditions.
“Jake heeled him really fast, and that helped; it was a combination of things.”
Guymon is different than any other event in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in that it features hornless cattle in team roping. Most rodeos featured horned Corriente steers, but Guymon adds to the flavor of this hometown event by also having walking fresh cattle for every team – none of these animals have ever been through a rodeo chute system, much less been part of a rodeo run.
“They’re fun, and they’re challenging, but they haven’t been very nice to me in the past,” Long said. “I won this rodeo when it was on horned cattle. But it’s interesting to rope muleys. Man, they can make you feel really silly.”
That’s unless things go well, which happened Saturday night.
“We watched when they roped one in 5.4, and it was an unbelievable run,” he said. “We drew such a good one that we got to make a normal run (like roping horned cattle), which doesn’t happen very often around here.”
Long and Smith have had a terrific start. Smith sits second in the heading world standings with nearly $64,000 in season earnings; Long is third in heading with more than $56,000. So far this year, they have earned big dollars by winning titles at four prestigious events, and they’re just going to add to it.
Elliott seriously injured
Saddle bronc rider Clay Elliott, a three-time NFR qualifier from Nanton, Alberta, was seriously injured during Friday’s first performance of Pioneer Days Rodeo.
Elliott was bucked off Frontier Rodeo’s Delta Force and landed on his head and suffered multiple spinal fractures. He had fractures in the C3, C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae and has surgery to fuse the C5and C6 vertebrae, said Rick Foster, program director for the Justin Sportsmedicine Team.
“Surgery went well, and there were no neuro deficits, so the outcome is good,” Foster said, noting that the procedure took place at Swedish Medical Center in Denver. “He also had a thoracic spine fracture that was treated non surgically.
“Typically, that injury would mean six months plus of being out of action.”
Elliott was part of the storied rodeo program at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, which is just 10 miles from Guymon. He won the Central Plains Region for Panhandle State in 2015 and has since won a Canadian championship.
Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo
April 29-May 5
Results through the first performance
Bareback riding leaders: 1. Garrett Shadbolt, 87 points on Powder River Rodeo’s Joker; 2. (tie) Ty Breuer and Will Lowe, 85; 4. Logan Patterson, 84.5; 5. Taylor Broussard, 83.5; 6. Tanner Aus, 81.5; 7. Dylan Riggins, 80.5; 8. (tie) Brazos Winters and Mason Clements, 80.
Team roping: Third round leaders: 1. Clay Smith/Jake Long, 5.2 seconds; 2. Tanner Green/Jake Clay, 5.4; 3. Brett Christensen/Chase Boekhaus, 6.0; 4. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 6.1; 5. Cooper White/Tucker White, 6.2; 6. Jake Orman/Walt Woodard, 6.3; 7. (tie) Garett Chick/Ross Ashford and Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 6.9. Aggregate leaders: 1. Garret Chick/Ross Ashford, 29.4 seconds on three runs; 2. Manny Egusquiza Jr., 29.8; 3. Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 31.5; 4. Clay Smith/Jake Long, 32.6; 5. Brett Christensen/Chase Boekhaus, 33.5; 6. Cooper White/Tucker White,35.3; 7. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 37.6; 8. Nick Sartain/Austin Rogers, 40.5.
Steer wrestling: Third round leaders: 1. Matt Reeves, 4.0 seconds; 2. Jule Hazen, 4.1; 3. Tom Uttermark, 4.4; 4. Richard Coats, 4.8; 5. Tyrel Cline, 4.9; 6. (tie) Eli Lord and Denell Henderson, 5.1; 8. Cody Devers, 5.3. Aggregate leaders: 1. Blake Mindemann, 15.9 seconds on three runs; 2. Billy Boldon, 16.9; 3. Matt Reeves, 17.3; 4. Tristan Martin, 17.9; 5. T.J. Hall, 18.2; 6. (tie) Jule Hazen and Denell Henderson, 18.6; 8. Hunter Washburn, 20.0
Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Wade Sundell, 90 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Big News; 2. Isaac Diaz, 87.5; 3. Tyrel Larsen, 87; 4. Mitch Pollock, 86; 5. Colt Gordon, 85; 6. Hardy Braden, 84; 7. (tie) Taos Muncy and Rusty Wright, 83.
Tie-down roping: Third round leaders: 1. Cooper Martin, 9.2 seconds; 2. Ryan Jarrett, 9.3; 3. Will Howell, 9.4; 4. Paul David Tierney, 10.1; 5. Luke Meier, 10.4; 6. (tie) Seth Cooke and Jase Staudt, 10.6; 8. Justin Smith, 11.1. Aggregate leaders: 1. Ryan Jarrett, 38.3 seconds on three runs; 2. Cooper Martin, 31.4; 3. Jase Staudt, 32.5; 4. Paul David Tierney, 33.9; 5. Will Howell, 34.2; 6. Chase Williams, 35.9; 75. Ty Harris, 36.1; 8. Robert Mathis, 37.1.
Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Ivy Hurst, 17.39 seconds; 2. (tie) Billie Ann Harmon and $yann Pedone, 17.48; 4. Sarah McCormick, 17.49; 5. (tie) Ashley Castleberry and Stevi Hillman, 17.58; 7. Kylie Weast, 17.59; 8. (tie) Kelly Yates and Alishea Broussard, 17.60; 10. (tie) Michelle Darling and Shannon Lillard, 17.67. Aggregate leaders: 1. Kylie Weast, 35.12 seconds on two runs; 2. Ivy Hurst, 35.44; 3. Alishea Broussard, 35.48; 4. Ryan Pedone, 35.49; 5. Michelle Darling, 35.50; 6. Stevi Hillman, 35.53; 7. Billie Ann Harmon, 35.56; 8. Kelly Yates, 35.59; 9. Tracy Nowlin, 35.66; 10. Tyra Kane, 35.68.
Bull riding leaders: 1. (tie) Stetson Wright, on Frontier Rodeo’s Black Ice, and Trevor Reiste, on Frontier Rodeo’s Footloose, 87 points; 3. Parker Breding, 86.5; 4. Corey Atwell, 84.5; 5. (tie) Daylon Swearingen Tyler Bingham, 84; 7. (tie) Elijah Mora and Jeston Mead, 83.