LOVINGTON, N.M. – Steer wrestler Shayde Etherton isn’t going to be a player in the chase for a bid into the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER.
But the Hico, Texas, cowboy did get to experience victory at the tradition-rich Lea County Fair & PRCA Rodeo (Aug. 10-13), a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Silver rodeo.
Etherton walked away as a co-champion with a time of 7.5 seconds in the two-head average.
He tied J.D. Struxness – the same Struxness who won the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo (July 23-31).
“This feels really good,” said Etherton, 25. “It’s always good to win a big check, and this rodeo was definitely on my bucket list.”
Etherton, who despite the win was still out of the top 50 in the Aug. 15 WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings, was thrilled to walk out of Jake McClure Arena with checks totaling $5,277.
He set the tone for his memorable rodeo with a first-round-winning run of 3.7 seconds.
“I called a buddy of mine, Dean Stermer – he and Stan Branco broke in the cattle – and Dean told me my steer was supposed to be good,” Etherton said. “I got a quick start, and took a chance.”
After his great first run, Etherton was nearly as quick with a 3.8-second run in the second round, which tied him for fourth place in the round with Dirk Tavenner.
“I had a steer that a guy missed in the first round,” Etherton said. “I just came back and took the same start and tried to make a good run on him, and the steer took it well.”
Fueling Etherton’s success was the horse he was riding, Grumpy, owned by Derek Stewart.
“I’ve won on that horse a few times this year,” Etherton said. “I won ($6,220) at the Cody Stampede (July 1-4) and I placed on him in St. Paul (Ore., July 1-4).”
Etherton acknowledged this season hasn’t gone according to plan – going full time – so now he’s turning his focus to the Texas Circuit. He competed at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo for the first time this past April in Kissimmee, Fla.
“That was a great rodeo,” Etherton said about the RNCFR. “They were really hospitable and the pay was good and the cattle were good. It sure would be great to go back to the RNCFR. This year didn’t pan out, and I didn’t get enough won, but I want to finish out and get back there to the RNCFR.”
Other winners at the $220,783 rodeo were all-around cowboy Josh Peek ($6,426 in tie-down roping and steer wrestling), bareback rider R.C. Landingham (86 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Hometown Girl), team ropers Luke Brown and Jake Long (9.1 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Sam Spreadborough (86 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Cool Runnings), tie-down roper Sterling Smith (17.9 seconds on two head), barrel racer Sarah Rose McDonald (17.36 seconds), steer roper J.P. Wickett (32.7 seconds on three head) and bull rider Cody Rostockyj (88.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Leroy Brown).
From a week that offered 35 PRCA rodeos and $2,016,066 in prize money, nobody took better advantage of the opportunities than timed-event cowboy Josh Peek of Pueblo, Colo. Peek, 36, won the all-around titles in Lovington, and at the Lawton (Okla.) Rangers Rodeo and the Yuma County (Colo.) Fair & Rodeo. He also banked checks from Hermiston, Ore., Sikeston, Mo., Lamar, Colo., and the Aug. 14 Wrangler Champions Challenge in Cody, Wyo. It all added up to $22,912, easily allowing him take back the lead in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings in the all-around with total earnings of $99,070 – $14,227 more than second-place Russell Cardoza.
RETURN OF THE LEGEND: It has been 12 years since the last of Guy Allen’s record 18 steer roping world championships and eight since the last time he qualified for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in 2008. Yet, here he is, just a couple of weeks’ shy of his 58th birthday and Allen is looking more and more like a solid bet to make it back to this year’s NFSR. His win at the Inter-State Rodeo in Coffeyville, Kan., over the weekend was his second of the season – after a three-year drought, including one in which he did not compete – and paid him $3,351. With six weeks left in the season, Allen stands 13th in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings with $33,210, which represents a $10,113 cushion over 16th-place JoJo LeMond.
J.D. Struxness seems to be surging on the momentum from his big win at Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days. He won two more rodeos this past weekend, sharing the title at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo in Lovington, N.M., with Shayde Etherton, and dominating the field in Lawton. His 3.1-second run to win the first round in Lawton was equal to the second-fastest time of the year in PRCA competition, and his 6.9 seconds on two head was also second only to Shane Frey’s 6.7 on two in Lufkin, Texas. Frey had a 3.0-second run in Lufkin, and Termaine Debose was 3.1 at that rodeo.
For more coverage of the Lea County Fair & PRCA Rodeo, coverage out the Aug. 26 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.