Friends share lead in Lovington

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Tim O’Connell, left, and Jess Pope are traveling partners who ride bareback horses together. On Thursday night, they had matching 88-point rides, O’Connell on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Exotic Dancer and Pope on Carr’s Good Time Charlie. They are leaders in Lovington.

Special to TwisTed Rodeo
LOVINGTON, N.M. – It was the veteran bareback rider Tim O’Connell on the young up-and-coming horse Exotic Dancer, and his young up-and-coming traveling partner Jess Pope on the veteran horse Good Time Charlie that started Thursday night off right with a pair of 88-point bareback rides.

“Good Time Charlie is one everyone wants to get on, so I was really excited,” Pope said. “He’s probably near the end of his career, so I was glad to get on him. I wish there was a hundred more just like him.”

“That’s just an amazing animal; hat’s off to that animal,” O’Connell, the three-time world champion, said of Good Time Charlie. “That horse is like 20 years old and still one of the best horses in the game going up and down the road. You should always be jealous when someone else draws Good Time Charlie, but I was also happy someone in our rig got Good Time Charlie.”

His own draw was handful, he said.

“She’s got more buck-offs than she has rides, and her rides are usually pretty high numbered,” he said of Exotic Dancer. “I nodded for a handful tonight. I had a feeling that horse was going to be pretty bucky, but she got vertical with me in the 3-second range and completely disappeared, and I made a big mistake and spurred over that horse’s neck. I pulled it back and just sent it back and made a pretty good recovery, and she jumped back underneath me and I felt by the next jump we were in time with each other.”

“Every time I perform, I expect to compete at the highest level, so when you make a mistake like that it’s infuriating for me, but because of the recovery, I was able to finish the ride the way I wanted.”

That finish, and the exotic nature of his bucking mount, moved O’Connell into the top spot in the bareback riding only Pope to go.

“All I can control is what I do on my horse,” Pope said, “I had the same game plan from when I got my callbacks,” in spite of the sudden leader change right before his ride. “I just went out there and did my job, and the rest is in everybody else’s hands.

“I was really happy with it.”

It made for a fun night of bareback riding inside Jake McClure Arena.

“When you’re traveling with high-caliber guys and you get out in a pen where they put a lot of really good horses out, there’s a good chance you guys are going to tie,” O’Connell said. “It’s not the first time this has happened and it’s not going to be the last.”

“We’re both really good bareback riders, we fuel each other’s fire,” Pope said. “I want to see him win just as bad as I want to win. You’ve got to have a good support system, and surround yourself with people who have the same goals.”

Both cowboys have their sights set on returning to the National Finals Rodeo this year, along with fellow traveling partner Cole Franks, the top bareback riding rookie and the college national champion in bareback riding and the all-around. For O’Connell, he’d like to see trio finish the year sitting first, second and third in the world standings, but O’Connell made it clear he’s gunning for the top spot, which he holds with $151,919.

“I’m going to extend this lead as far as I possibly can,” he said. “I lost the world title by $6,000 last year, and it took me a really long time to accept that. I led the world for 296 days and lost it on the most important day. When guys are tired and wanting to go home, I’m going to be entering rodeos and grinding it out.”

Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 4-7
Bareback riding leaders:
1. (tie) Tim O’Connell on Pete Carr Rodeo’s Exotic Dancer and Jess Pope on Pete Carr Rodeo’s Good Time Charlie, 88 points; 3. Cole Reiner, 84; 4. Logan Patterson, 80.5; 5. (tie) Tilden Hooper and Kody Lamb, 80; 7. Shane O’Connell, 78; 8. Nate S McFadden, 69.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Luke Branquinho, 3.3 seconds, 2. Chance Howard, 3.5; 3. Jacob Talley, 3.7; 4. Dalton Massey, 3.8; 5. (tie) Tyler Waguespack, Tristan Martin, and Justin Shaffer, 4.0; 8. Ringo Robinson, 4.2; Second round leaders: 1. Trever Nelson, 3.6 seconds; 2. Blake Knowles, 3.8; 3. (tie) Clayton Hass and Chance Howard, 3.9; 5. (tie) Denard Butler, Tyler Waguespack, Ringo Robinson, Justin Shaffer, and J.D. Struxness, 4.0; Average leaders: 1. Chance Howard 7.4 seconds on two runs; 2. (tie) Justin Shaffer and Tyler Waguespack, 8.0; 4. (tie) Tristan Martin and Blake Knowles, 8.1; 6. Ringo Robinson, 8.2; 7. Laramie Warren; 8. Riley Duvall.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Marty Yates, 8.3 seconds; 2. J.D. McCuistion, 8.5; 3. Lane Livingston, 8.6; 4. (tie) Ty Harris and Ryan Jarrett, 9.0; 6. Westyn Hughes, 9.1; 7. (tie) Bo Pickett and Taylor Santos, 9.4; Second round leaders: 1.  Westyn Hughes, 8.1 seconds, 2. (tie) Blake Chauvin, Cory Solomon, and Tyson Durfey, 8.2; 5. J.D. McCuistion, 8.7; 6. Charlie Gibson, 8.9; 7. Trenton Smith, 9.0; 8. Ty Harris, 9.4; Average leaders: J.D. McCuistion and Westyn Hughes, 17.2 seconds on two runs seconds; 3. Ty Harris, 18.4; 4. Taylor Santos, 19.5; 5. Lane Livingston and Marty Yates, 21.9; 7. Ryle Smith, 22.1; 8. Bo Pickett, 22.4

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Cody DeMoss, 87 points Pete Carr Rodeo’s Hollywood Knight; 2. Brody Cress, 83.5; 3. Layton Green 82; 4. Kole Ashbacher, 81.5; 5. Logan Cook, 81; 6. K’s Thomson, 80; 7. (tie) Keene Justesen and Sterling Crawley, 78.

Steer roping: First round leaders: 1. Tuff Hardman, 11.3 seconds; 2. Trey Wallace, 13.4; 3. (tie) Cody Lee and Tony Reina, 13.6; 5. Mike Chase, 14.1; 6. John E. Bland 14.7; Second round leaders: Second round: 1. Taylor Santos, 10.1; 2. Scott Snedecor, 10.6; 3. (tie) Cody Lee and Shay Good, 11.4 seconds; 5. Dan Fisher, 13.1; 6. Brodie Poppino 13.3; 7. Jim Locke, 13.5; 8. Tuff Hardman, 15.5;  Third round leaders: 1. Scott Snedecor, 10.3 seconds; 2. Taylor Santos, 10.6; 3. Dan Fisher, and Mike Chase 12.5; 5. Reo Lohse, 12.6; 6. Tony Reina, 13.5. Average leaders: 1. Cody Lee, 38.7 seconds on three runs; 2. Dan Fisher, 41.7; 3. Mike Chase, 42.2; 4. Tony Reina, 44.3; 5. Taylor Santos, 20.7 seconds on two runs; 6. Scott Snedecor, 20.9.  

Ladies Breakaway: First round leaders: 1. Kassidy Denisson, 2.3 seconds; 2. Kelsie Chace, 2.5; 3. Beau Peterson, 2.8; 4. Jackie Crawford, 3.2; 5. Jenna Lee Hays, 3.2; 6. Katie Mundorf, 3.3; 7. Bradi Good, 3.4 seconds; 8. (tie) Loni Lester and Makayla Boisjoli, 3.6 seconds; Second round leaders: 1. Bradi Good, 2.9 seconds; 2. (tie) Kelsie Chace and Kassidy Dennison, 3.7; 4. Katie Mundorf, 12.3; Average Leaders: 1. Kassidy Dennison, 6.0 seconds on two runs; 2. Kelsie Chace, 6.2; 3. Bradi Good, 6.3; 4. Katie Mundorf, 15.6; 5. Jackie Crawford, 3.2 seconds on one run, 6. Makayla Boisjoli, 3.6.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Tanner Tomlinson/Patrick Smith, 4.5 seconds; 2. Cory Kidd /Ryan Motes, 4.8; 3. Wyatt Imus/Caleb Anderson, 5.0; 4. Jake Clay/Billie Jack Saebens, 5.3; 5. Kellan Johnson/Carson Johnson, 5.3; 6. Kolton Schmidt/Wyatt Cox, 6.2; 7. Wyatt Lacey/Tye Reddell, 6.9; 8. Pedro Egurrola/JC Flake, 7.5; Second round leaders: 1. Tyler Wade/Trey Yates, 4.2 seconds; 2. (tie) Korbin Rice/Jace Davis and Cory Kidd V/Ryan Motes , 4.6 seconds; 4. (tie) Jake Clay/Billie Jack Saebens and Kolton Schmidt/Wyatt Cox, 4.9; 6. (tie) Nick Sartain/Reagan Ward and Kellan Johnson/Carson Johnson, 5.4; 8. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 5.5; Average leaders: 1. Cory Kidd/Ryan Motes, 9.4 seconds on two runs; 2. Jake Clay/Billie Jack Saebens, 10.2; 3. Kellan Johnson/Carson Johnson, 10.7;  4. Wyatt Imus/Caleb Anderson, 11.0; 5. Kolton Schmidt/Wyatt Cox, 11.1; 6. Korbin Rice/Jace Davis, 15.1; 7. Tyler Wade/Trey Yates, 4.2 seconds on one run; 8. Tanner Tomlinson/Patrick Smith, 4.5.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Katie Halbert, 17.53; 2. Timber Allebrand, 17.59; 3. Tierra Zapalac and Katelyn Scott, 17.71; 4. Ivy Saebens, 17.80; 6. Kylee Scribner, 17.86; 7. Sarah Rose Waguespack, 18.01; 8. Peyton Stepanoff, 18.04.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Clayton Sellars, 84.5 points on Harper & Morgan’s Sling Shot; 2. (tie) Ky Hamilton and Josh Frost, 83.5; 4. Sage Kimzey, 83; 5. Dustin Boquet, 71; no other qualified rides.


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