Tierneys rule the Cinch Timed Event Championship–again
As many times as they have won the CINCH Timed Event Championship, the Tierney family should maybe have a style of CINCH jeans named after them. Paul Tierney won the event four times; his younger son Paul David Tierney grabbed two titles, the most recent being last year’s event; and Paul’s older son, Jess Tierney, won the event this year for the first time.
Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, has hosted the CINCH Timed Event Championship since 1985, and the Oral, South Dakota, family has been there since the very beginning. Paul won his first title in 1987, but competed in CTEC’s inaugural year.
The event is five rounds of five events: heading, heeling, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, and steer roping, with contestants receiving a cumulative time from all events in each round. Failure to complete an event without penalty or a miss results in a 60-second time.
In a pack of 20 competitors, Jess placed fifth and Paul David 10th in the first round of competition, and from there picked up speed and consistency. They each placed in the top four in the second and third round, and each took a turn in top four in the last two rounds.
“My game plan this year was not try so hard to do what everybody else is doing in each of their good events. I told myself, ‘These events are your good events, these are weaker. In the good events, I want to be solid and make up time. In the events I don’t do a lot of, I want to not lose a lot of time and sure not take a 60,’” said Jess, who primarily steer ropes and calf ropes. He spent time preparing for the event by roping more and hitting the gym. “You don’t want to be out of air. You want your lungs about you. If you get winded, you lose your mental edge. I tried to sharpen up my neck catches, and my head catches in the bulldogging. You don’t want to go through two or three rounds to get your edge back. You’ve got to have it on day one.”
“It requires not only having really good horses, but it requires a very strong mental stamina. It’s a real mental game, staying on your game,” Paul said. “Sometimes you fall ahead, sometimes you fall behind. Jess never was in the lead until the last steer. There were times when Jess was sixth, and times he was fourth or lower. All of a sudden, he went into the last steer third, he’s a steer roper by trade and that was the last event, and that’s what allowed him to win it.”
The overall placings resulted in Jess, with first, earning $104,000; Clay Smith, second; Trevor Brazile, third; Josh Peek, fourth; and Paul David in sixth, taking home $13,500.
“I’m very proud of both of them, very proud. Going into last steer of the last round, there were three guys within six seconds of one another. That’s amazing to me,” said Paul, who competed in the event for 29 years and was 60 years old at his last CTEC. “There were lots of times when we started out [at the Timed Event Championship] that a guy could take a 60 and still win it. Last year, Paul [David] and Trevor [Brazile] were 10 seconds apart. If they have any kind of stub of toe they just can’t win it. You just can’t stub your toe like you could at the start.”
“To come into events you don’t do often, it’s a physically demanding event, but it’s really more of a mentally demanding event. You’ve got to switch from one way of roping to a different way in the next event. You’ve got to be able to adjust yourself,” Jess said. “If a roper [who specializes in that event] is 10 flat, lets try to be 12 to 14 seconds. It is physical on you; our bodies are not used to doing some of those events like bulldogging, but it can be mentally exhausting too because you have to stay in those events.”
Both Paul David and Jess attribute much of their success to help along the way, from being started as youngsters by their dad and growing up at events like CTEC, having hazers, headers, and heelers who accept the pressure of not letting them down, being offered others’ horses who are at the prime of their career, and always being supported by family.
“Dad is right there all the time helping, from cleaning stalls or checking the draw. He trusts us a lot more than he used to, but he’s been there a while and makes sure we’ve noticed the details. As long as we have, he lets us tend to our own business,” Jess said. “My wife Teresa has been really supportive and able to pick out positives. The whole family shows up with a lot of energy; it’s nice to know we have a team of people who want us to win. It’s just as hard on those helpers as it is a contestant; if they don’t show up and do their jobs, we can’t win.”
“We’ve got Jace Crabb who ropes for both of us and gives us easy shots. He just does his job when he has to heel,” Paul David said. “Cody Woodward makes bulldogging a lot easier for us when he’s over there hazing. His horses have worked out great for us and makes our job a lot easier.”
Before Paul’s retirement from the event, all three Tierney men have competed against one another in CTEC, but now, each will be able to sport a CTEC buckle.
“It’s awesome for Jess to win it; we couldn’t have been happier,” Paul David said. “Now we each have a timed event buckle to wear.”
“As a family, it just feel so good to join the family tradition as well as working hard and seeing the fruits of your labor,” Jess said. “It’s not something you see everyday and I just appreciate the people who gave some time and invested in my in my success there.”