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GUTHRIE, Okla. ‚Äď K.C. Jones has spent half his life coming to the Lazy E Arena every March to compete in the Timed Event Championship of the World.
Jones, 46, is in this exclusive field for the 23rd time in the event‚Äôs 30-year history. He‚Äôs one of two men who have earned the coveted championship five times. On Friday afternoon, he scrambled through the opening round of five runs in 56.7 seconds to take the early lead.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs just the first five, and there‚Äôs 20 more,‚ÄĚ said Jones of Burlington, Wyo. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs going to be real important and keep your horses working good here.‚ÄĚ
Jones is one of four former champions competing at the Lazy E this weekend; only 2010 winner Josh Peek is not among the top three. Jones is trailed by two-time titlist Kyle Lockett, who roped, tied and wrestled five head in 57.2 seconds, and three-time and reigning champ Daniel Green, who posted a 61.1-second round.
‚ÄúThe bulldogging steers are running a little more; the calves are stronger than they were last year,‚ÄĚ Jones said. ‚ÄúThe tripping steers are not running quite as hard, but they‚Äôre not taking the tie as good as they have in past years. It‚Äôs going to be important to draw good.‚ÄĚ
Jones did. In fact, he was steady throughout each of the five runs ‚Äď after 23 years and five gold buckles, he understands the name of the game is staying away from mistakes.
But this is the most grueling test in rodeo, and sometimes these top-level cowboys let their competitiveness get in the way. That was the case with Timed Event rookie Cody Doescher of Oklahoma City, who was solid through the first four runs, posting a 40.3-second cumulative time. His final run of the round in steer roping became a little menacing; he had to trip his steer twice before he could secure the tie.
‚ÄúI feel like I did pretty good,‚ÄĚ said Doescher, a 23-year-old heeler. ‚ÄúI made myself stay aggressive, but I got a little too aggressive in the steer roping, got in a hurry and fell pretty far behind. I have to step up my game a little bit.‚ÄĚ
Doescher is ninth in the standings, but he‚Äôs learning rather quickly what a true challenge the Timed Event is.
1. K.C. Jones, 56.7 seconds; 2. Kyle Lockett, 57.2; 3. Daniel Green, 61.1; 4. (tie) Landon McClaugherty and JoJo LeMond, 65.4; 6. Dustin Bird, 66.4.