Tierney, Tillard throw to win
Doc and Rowdy aren’t just for looks.
The two cherished horses helped their riders earn some big checks at the 2015 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in November.
“I had a good finals,” says Tierney, “I had my good horse Doc back this year and that was great. He was hurt last year but I was able to use him all season this year and he’s just fun to rope on. He was a little nervous that first night but he overcame it and we won that round.”
“I tied the arena record in the 10th round with an 8.3 and that was the highlight of the week for me,”says Tierney. “I’d never won that many rounds before and that felt good.”
When Tierney bought his horse Doc three years ago he was a heading horse. “I didn’t have a steer roping horse at the time so I logged him a little and started using him and he really came on. He’s 16 and solid and he can do it all. He’s just a really good horse,” Tierney explains.
Tierney, who married his wife Teresa in July, has roped his whole life and really enjoys steer roping. “The PRCA is making steer roping a better event too and it pays better. Now a guy can actually make a living rodeoing,” he says, adding “The facility at Mulvane for the finals is really nice. It’s about like the South Point at Las Vegas as everything is right there in one place. It’s the second year it’s been there and it’s really working out well for everyone.”
“If someone wants to start steer roping, I think they need to get a good, solid horse first. A lot of guys try to rope steers but they start out with a horse that’s just starting too and that doesn’t work. If you want to succeed at steer roping, you need to find a horse that is good at it and then you can just work on yourself,” says Tierney. “Take the time, spend the money to get the right horse, and you’ll enjoy it more. Once you have that good horse, then get with the people who have good advice and work hard at it.”
Tillard ranches at Douglas, Wyoming with his wife Heidi and two sons, Ryder (10) and Talon (5). He has qualified for the finals in 2004, 2014 and 2015, and went into this year’s finals in 9th place.
“Right in the heart of the season I had five rodeos in five days at Lovington, New Mexico; Yuma, Colorado; Dalhart, Texas; Sterling, Colorado; and Kimball, Nebraska. I placed fourth in the average at Lovington, second in the average at Yuma, and won the average and placed in several rounds at Sterling,” says Tillard. “That was the week that took me off the bubble and put me in the top 15. I roped the best that week and it really sticks out to me and was good for my confidence. Rowdy was really working, our timing was perfect and I was roping good. “ Tillard adds with a chuckle, “I wish a guy could bottle up weeks like that!”
Tillard agrees with Tierney that the finals is a first class deal all the way. “They’ve really set it up good for the ropers and I think everyone is really tickled with it.” The total payout at the finals at a tidy $425,000 made winning the rounds very worthwhile at over $9,000 for first and on down to over $1,500 for a sixth place in a round.
The highlight of Troy Tillard’s year though, was when his horse Rowdy was named AQHA’s PRCA Steer Roping Horse of the Year. “That’s voted on by the other steer ropers and that’s what makes it mean so much, “says Tillard. The 16-year-old, whose registered name is Weavers Diamond Bar, is also a standout using horse on the ranch at home where his sons ride him as well.
“I’m really blessed with the horse I have, plus I have an amazing wife and she takes care of the boys and the horse and me and lets me go rope. Heidi’s got a nice barrel horse that is going good so hopefully next year we can rodeo together,” says Tillard.
Both cowboys will be back in 2016, striving to qualify for another finals and enjoying the friendships and the family oriented atmosphere of professional steer roping.
The 2015 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping was held Nov. 6-7 at Mulvane, Kansas. Jesse Tierney, Hermosa, South Dakota and Troy Tillard, Douglas, Wyoming qualified from the region.
Tierney won Round 1 with a 9.8, tied for Round 2 with Cody Lee with an 11.5, placed 6th in Round 3 with a 13.1, won Round 4 with a 10.0, and won Round 10 with an 8.3. Tillard tied for 6th in Round 2 with Trevor Brazile with a 12.7, placed 3rd in Round 5 with a 9.8, and placed 6th in Round 8 with a 12.7.