ATOKA, Okla. – Cord McCoy knows what it takes to be a champion.
He won five IPRA world titles nearly two decades ago as one of the top all-around cowboys in the Oklahoma City-based association, and he’s been in contention for the PRCA and PBR gold buckles over his lifetime. There was also the time he and his brother finished as runners-up for $1 million during marathon around the world on CBS-TV’s “The Amazing Race.”
It’s no surprise that the world champions are ready to compete at the Atoka Pro Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 21-Saturday, May 22, at the Atoka Trail Riders Arena.
In all, there are four PRCA world champions in the mix representing five gold buckles: Kollin VonAhn, a two-time heeling world champ; Tyson Durfey, the 2016 tie-down roping titlist; Ryan Jarrett, the 2005 all-around winner; and Tyler Pearson, the 2017 steer wrestling world champion that now lives in Atoka.
There are two others won their gold buckles at the Timed Event Championship at the Lazy E Arena: Jess Tierney, the 2017 winner, and Taylor Santos, who won the TEC crown in 2020.
“There is a great rodeo history right here in Atoka County,” said McCoy, a co-owner of Atoka County-based McCoy Rodeo, which is producing the rodeos. “If you look at that, you recognize that there’s been a need for a PRCA rodeo to take place right here, and I’m glad to be able to bring it to town.”
Pearson makes a significant part of his living as one of the best bulldoggers in ProRodeo, and he moved to this southeastern Oklahoma community just before winning the world championship four seasons ago. He is scheduled to compete both nights in steer wrestling and team roping. But he isn’t the only man from Atoka County to have earned a PRCA gold buckle
There are three others, and they’re successes have significant undertones. The first is steer roper John McEntire, who won three world titles. He was followed by his son, Clark McEntire, who also won three steer roping gold buckles. The third is Lane Frost, who won the PRCA’s bull riding world championship in 1987.
“I was only 8 years old when Lane passed away in Cheyenne (Wyoming), but you don’t grow up around rodeo in Oklahoma without knowing who he was and what he meant to this sport and to this area,” McCoy said. “I think rodeo in this part of Oklahoma is just a natural fit, and you can see it with the names of the people that have won gold buckles that are from around here.
“This is rodeo territory, and we are going to celebrate it.”
Consider this: Atoka is also home to two up-and-coming superstars in ProRodeo. Wyatt Muggli is the No. 1 man in the PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year all-around race. His neighbor, Tuff Hardman, sits fourth in the rookie all-around list but is No. 1 in steer roping.
Both men are scheduled to compete at their hometown rodeo.
“Those two guys are as handy as you’re going to find in rodeo,” McCoy said. “I think a lot of people from right here in Atoka County are going to really enjoy seeing what we have to offer in professional rodeo.”