GUTHRIE, Okla. – J.D. Draper may have summed up the inaugural Jr. Ironman Championship the best.
“There were 10 awesome kids in this, but Bo Yaussi is a stud,” said Draper of Oakley, Kan.
He should know. The two have had plenty of battles over the years, and they produced another one over the three days this weekend at the event held in conjunction with the CINCH Timed Event Championship at the Lazy E Arena. Yaussi, of Udall, Kan., won the crown and $10,000 by stopping the clock in a cumulative time of 152.2 seconds on 12 runs.
“This is a great honor,” Yaussi said. “I’m proud to get selected to be part of this, and I’ve been working my butt off. Hard work meets opportunity right here.”
He entered Sunday morning’s final round with an 8.2-second lead over Draper. In the opening discipline, Yaussi’s heeler missed on his first shot and eventually roped one leg. They stopped the clock in 24.4 seconds. Draper was 13.8 and took a two second lead.
But Yaussi took charge from there and wrapped up his run with a 57.0-second final round to claim the championship. By the time he got to steer wrestling – the final event of the round – he had 23.9 seconds to secure his catch and grab the crown. He bettered Draper by 9.1 seconds.
“My strategy is first best shot,” Yaussi said. “Whether you’re trying to be smooth or trying to win the rodeo, if it’s there, take it. You don’t change much. You just go play your game.”
He played it well, but so did all the other young competitors in the field. The Jr. Ironman is set up for cowboys ages 15 to 20 years old, and they compete in heading, heeling, tie-down roping and steer wrestling. It takes solid cowboys and outstanding animal athletes to make it all work together.
While Draper finished as the reserve champion, his bulldogging horse, Chance, was named the AQHA Jr. Ironman Top Horse Award.
“This is an awesome experience, and I really liked it,” Draper said. “It’s good that we get to do all the events like this.”
It was also good that the two Kansans battled for another title. After years of competing in Kansas associations, Yaussi opted to compete in high school rodeo in Oklahoma, but he recalled a lot of memories he has had with Draper.
“J.D. and I have had a lot of tight races,” Yaussi said. “We’ve always been going nose to nose. I like him a lot, and we get along real good.”
It’s more than camaraderie; it’s also knowing one has to beat the best to be the best, and it’s what makes the Jr. Ironman Championship special.
The 2017 CINCH Timed Event Championship is sponsored by CINCH, Priefert Ranch & Rodeo Equipment, YETI Coolers, Montana Silversmiths, ABI Equine, RAM, Carroll Original Wear, P&K Equipment, Cavender’s, American Farmers and Ranchers Insurance, Nutrena, MacroAir, National Saddlery, Cross Bar Gallery, John Vance Motors, Pendleton Whisky, CSI Saddlepads, AQHA, Western Horseman Magazine, Spin to Win Magazine, Guthrie CVB, Made In Oklahoma Coalition, Sherwin-Williams, La Quinta Edmond and the Fairfield Inn & Suites – Edmond. Hampton Inn – Guthrie.
The 2017 CINCH Timed Event Championship is a Lazy E Production. For more information on the CINCH Timed Event Championship or other Lazy E events, contact the Lazy E Arena, 9600 Lazy E Drive, Guthrie, OK 73044, (405) 282-RIDE, (800) 595-RIDE or visit www.lazye.com.
First round: 1. Miles Neighbors, 44.7 seconds, $1,000.
Second round: Garrett Jacobs, 39.9 seconds, $1,000.
Third round: 1. Tanner Green, 38.9 seconds, $1,000.
Aggregate: 1. Bo Yaussi, 152.2 seconds, $10,000; 2. J.D. Draper, $5,000; 3. Wyatt Hansen, 205.7, $2,000.