Tierney moves into contention

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Jess Tierney posted the fastest round to win Friday night's performance of the CINCH Timed Event Championship. He sits second overall. (PHOTO BY JAMES PHIFER)

Two former champions sit atop the CINCH Timed Event Championship standings

GUTHRIE, Okla. – Since the early days of the CINCH Timed Event Championship, the name Tierney has been a staple at the Lazy E Arena.

Over the 36 years of the “Ironman of ProRodeo,” a Tierney has been crowned its champion seven times. It began in 1987, when Paul Tierney won the first of his four titles – the last time in 2000. Youngest son Paul David followed with titles in 2014 and ’16, then Jess earned the 2017 crown.

This is no easy title to claim, either. Only 15 men in the event’s history have been crowned titlists, because the unique challenge pits top all-around cowboys competing in each of the five timed events to complete a round. Over the five-round weekend, each man will make 25 runs over just three days.

On Friday night, Jess Tierney put the finishing touches to a long, two-round day with the fastest-round of the weekend so far, stopping the clock in a cumulative time of 58.3 seconds to win the second go-round and pocket $3,000 for doing so.

“These rounds are really good for getting your fees back, but you don’t want to focus on winning the rounds, because it’s such a marathon here,” he said. “If you focus on going too fast here, a bunch of crazy stuff can happen.

“Solid rounds are great. I’ve watched (seven-time winner) Trevor Brazile for years, and he wasn’t scared of winning three or four rounds. Anytime you can put a good round together, it just gives you confidence going into the next one.”

Jordan Ketscher stayed strong and steady to win the first round of the CINCH Timed Event Championship. After two rounds, he still sits No. 1 overall. (PHOTO BY JAMES PHIFER)
Jordan Ketscher stayed strong and steady to win the first round of the CINCH Timed Event Championship. After two rounds, he still sits No. 1 overall. (PHOTO BY JAMES PHIFER)

In fact, Jess Tierney finished the opening round in seventh place, then utilized a strong second performance to move into the No. 2 spot, just 7.2 seconds behind leader Jordan Ketscher’s 130.1-second cumulative time on 10 runs.

“It’s a long weekend,” said Tierney of Hermosa, South Dakota, now living in Altus, Oklahoma, where he is the rodeo coach at Western Oklahoma State College. “It’s the longest weekend I have all year. Anytime you can keep your mind straight here – where you’re making practice-type runs but still hustling and trying to get the most out of yourself and out of your horse – that’s when I’ve had the best luck.”

It happens because of his experience and his talent, but there’s also something special that occurs at the CTEC. Because he competes in each event, he relies on other cowboys and their horses to assist.

“Tony Reina (who has made both the National Finals Rodeo in tie-down roping and the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping) has been a huge blessing this year letting me use his good mare as a calf horse,” Tierney said. “He’s a great guy to have in my corner, as is my dad. I have never been here without (team roper) Jace Crabb; nothing rattles that guy. (Steer wrestler and hazer) Kody Woodward has always been here. I don’t even call those two. They just now they’re going to be here.

“The thing about the Timed Event is that it’s a huge mental game. I don’t know anybody that’s come to this event that’s just awesome in all five events. There are going to be obstacles. When you get here, you’ve got to play the game where you can see those obstacles coming.”

Ketcher hasn’t had many obstacles. He took the lead in the opening round, which took place Friday afternoon. The 2018 CTEC winner from Squaw Valley, California, Ketscher never relinquished the top spot. He won the opening round and has just continued to build.

“My whole game plan was to make solid runs and rope what I draw, and it seems to be working out,” he said. “I still don’t have a great amount of experience in (steer roping), but being around here the last four years, I’ve seen these scenarios play out. It’s just about me not getting ahead of myself and grinding it out.”

How will he approach the final three rounds of this unique competition?

“I’ll try not to do anything different,” he said “I’ll just keep making my runs and let the cards fall where they’re going to fall.”

The Jr. Ironman took on a bit of an international flavor, when Canadian Tee McLeod won the opening round Friday morning. He roped, tied and wrestled four animals in a cumulative time of 39.3 seconds to claim the $750 prize. Reigning champion Tyler West finished second in 44.1 seconds to pocket $250.

First round: 1. Jordan Ketscher, 65.3 seconds, $3,000; 2. Marcus Theriot, 65.8, $2,000; 3. Roger Nonella, 68.6, $1,000.

Second round: 1. Jess Tierney, 58.3 seconds, $3,000; 2. Haven Meged, 59.3, $2,000; 3. Clay Smith, 63.7, $1,000.

Average leaders: 1. Jordan Ketscher, 130.1 seconds on 10 runs; 2. Jess Tierney, 137.3; 3. Marcus Theriot, 140.4; 4. Roger Nonella, 153.4; 5. Taylor Santos, 156.9.

Jr. Ironman first round: 1. Tee McLoud, 39.3 seconds, $750; 2. Tyler West, 44.1, $250; 3. Sam Morgan, 47.8.


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