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Tim O’Connell holds on to capture Fort Worth title

Before this past weekend, bareback rider Tim O’Connell had never had any luck at the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show.

On Feb. 6, the Zwingle, Iowa, cowboy hit the jackpot.

O’Connell scored 333 points on four head – one-point shy of the arena record – to win the average at Will Rogers Coliseum.

“I had never even made the short round at Fort Worth before, so this feels great,” said O’Connell, 24.

The Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show ran Jan. 22 through Feb. 6, and it was a worthwhile stop for O’Connell. He left town with $12,070.

“I’m having fun riding bucking horses, and it’s great to win a big rodeo like this,” O’Connell said. “This really kick-starts my year. I feel like I’m riding well and I drew four great horses.”

O’Connell was riding a tidal wave of momentum Feb. 6 when he tied for first place in the third round with Bill Tutor as each cowboy had an 84.5-point ride. O’Connell’s third-round score came aboard Four Star Rodeo’s Big Star, and it left him with 253.5 points on three head, which gave him a seven-point lead over Orin Larsen heading into the short round.

After Caleb Bennett had an 87-point ride on Rafter G Rodeo’s Assault in the finals, O’Connell – the last rider of the night – needed a 79-point ride or better to capture the average title over Bennett.

“I was actually pretty calm,” O’Connell said. “I don’t like to pay attention to what other people are doing because I know that’s out of my control. I wasn’t nervous, but I’m not saying that I was confident I was going to win. I knew whatever was going to happen in that eight seconds, God knew what was going to happen, and that’s all I needed to know.”

O’Connell did just enough, as he recorded a 79.5-point ride on J Bar J’s Chilly Lounge.

“I had never even heard of that horse before,” O’Connell said. “That horse really bucked right out of there. She was a nice horse and she gave me every opportunity to do the very best I could do. It wasn’t the flashiest ride that I could put together, but it was good enough to win.”

O’Connell has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo the last two years, finishing eighth (2014) and seventh (2015), and he has ambitious goals for 2016.

“I’m looking for the gold buckle at the finish already,” O’Connell said. “I work hard for that every day. When I’m at home, I’m in the gym doing things that will help me out in the long run.”

Other winners at the Will Rogers Coliseum were steer wrestler Matt Reeves (13.0 seconds on three head), team ropers Clay Smith and Paul Eaves (14.9 seconds on three head), saddle bronc rider Jake Wright (251 points on three head), tie-down roper Ryle Smith (25.6 seconds on three head), barrel racer Ivy Conrado (50.04 seconds on three runs) and bull rider Riker Carter (243.5 points on three head).

Smith and Eaves tied the arena record with a 3.9-second run in the second round.

Results from the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show

Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 22-Feb. 6

Bareback riding: Finals: 1. Caleb Bennett, 87 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s Assault, $1,650; 2. Evan Jayne, 85.5, $1,250; 3. Clint Laye, 84, $900; 4. Winn Ratliff, 82, $600; 5. Mason Clements, 81.5, $350; 6. Orin Larsen, 81, $250. Average: 1. Tim O’Connell, 333 points on four head, $6,010; 2. Caleb Bennett, 332, $4,608; 3. Orin Larsen, 327.5, $3,406; 4. Winn Ratliff, 324.5, $2,204; 5. (tie) Evan Jayne and Mason Clements, 323, $1,202 each; 7. Clint Laye, 316, $801; 8. Caine Riddle, 312, $601.

Steer wrestling: Finals: 1. Matt Reeves, 4.1 seconds, $2,036; 2. Jason Thomas, 4.2, $1,770; 3. Cody Cassidy, 4.8, $1,505; 4. (tie) Timmy Sparing and Jake Rinehart, 4.9, $1,106 each; 6. Ty Erickson, 5.0, $708; 7. Wade Sumpter, 5.5, $443; 8. Brother Loud, 6.0, $177. Average: 1. Matt Reeves, 13.0 seconds on three head, $8,574; 2. Jason Thomas, 14.4, $7,456; 3. Jake Rinehart, 14.7, $6,337; 4. Ty Erickson, 15.4, $5,219; 5. Brother Loud, 15.6, $4,101; 6. Timmy Sparing, 15.8, $2,982; 7. Joe Buffington, 16.4, $1,864; 8. Wade Sumpter, 16.7, $746.

Team roping: Finals: 1. Zac Small/Wesley Thorp, 4.2 seconds, $1,479 each; 2. Blaine Vick/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 5.1, $1,224; 3. Rowdy Rieken/Justin Price, 5.2, $969; 4. Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 5.3, $714; 5. Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, 5.5, $459; 6. Casey Gattis/Kirt Jones, 5.6, $255. Average: 1. Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, 14.9 seconds on three head, $7,220 each; 2. Zac Small/Wesley Thorp, 15.1, $6,278; 3. Blaine Vick/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 15.2, $5,337; 4. Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 15.8, $4,395; 5. Rowdy Rieken/Justin Price, 16.2, $3,453; 6. Casey Gattis/Kirt Jones, 16.4, $2,511; 7. Ty Blasingame/Josh Fillmore, 16.9, $1,570; 8. Dylan Gordon/Austin Rogers, 20.2, $628.

Saddle bronc riding: Finals: 1. Dalton Davis, 86 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s Charlie’s Angel, $1,650; 2. Jake Wright, 84.5, $1,250; 3. Tyrel Larsen, 83.5, $900; 4. (tie) Joey Sonnier and Troy Crowser, 79.5, $475 each; 6. CoBurn Bradshaw, 79, $250. Average: 1. Jake Wright, 251 points on three head, $7,165; 2. Dalton Davis, 248, $5,493; 3. Tyrel Larsen, 243, $4,060; 4. Joey Sonnier , 241.5, $2,627; 5. Troy Crowser, 239, $1,672; 6. CoBurn Bradshaw, 237.5, $1,194; 7. Brady Nicholes, 235, $955; 8. Sterling Crawley, 233, $716.

Tie-down roping: Finals: 1. Ryle Smith, 7.5 seconds, $1,829; 2. Cody McCartney, 8.5, $1,590; 3. Ryan Watkins, 8.6, $1,352; 4. Bryson Sechrist, 9.7, $1,113; 5. Justin Macha, 9.9, $875; 6. Jerrad Hofstetter, 11.5, $636; 7. Reese Riemer, 12.1, $398; 8. Bradley Bynum, 12.7, $159. Average: 1. Ryle Smith, 25.6 seconds on three head, $8,816; 2. Cody McCartney, 27.0, $7,666; 3. Ryan Watkins, 27.1, $6,516; 4. Justin Macha, 27.7, $5,366; 5. Bryson Sechrist, 28.4, $4,216; 6. Jerrad Hofstetter, 29.7, $3,066; 7. Reese Riemer, 30.2, $1,916; 8. Bradley Bynum, 31.1, $767.

Barrel racing: Finals: 1. Kellie Collier, 16.64 seconds, $3,811; 2. (tie) Kelly Tovar and Ivy Conrado, 16.65, $2,382 each; 4. Andrea Busby, 16.76, $953. Average: 1. Ivy Conrado, 50.04 seconds on three head, $7,718; 2. Kelly Tovar, 50.23, $6,615; 3. Kellie Collier, 50.29, $5,513; 4. Andrea Busby, 50.32, $4,778; 5. Tiany Schuster, 50.44, $3,675; 6. Kimmie Wall, 50.53, $2,940; 7. Taylor Jacob, 50.66, $2,205; 8. Shelly Anzick, 55.16, $1,470; 9. Michele McLeod, 55.21, $1,103; 10. Paxton Segelke, 60.71, $735.

Bull riding: First round: Finals: 1. Chase Robbins, 86 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s J lazy, $1,650; 2. Riker Carter, 84.5, $1,250; 3. Joe Frost, 74.5, $900; 4. Sage Kimzey, 71, $600; no other qualified rides. Average: 1. Riker Carter, 243.5 points on three head, $8,632; 2. Chase Robbins, 240, $6,618; 3. Joe Frost, 232.5, $4,892; 4. Sage Kimzey , 227, $3,165; 5. Ednei Caminhas, 168.5 on two head, $2,014; 6. Trevor Kastner, 164, $1,439; 7. Freeman Yoder, 163.5, $1,151; 8. Shad Heiner, 161.5, $863.

Total payoff: $645,256. Stock contractor: Rafter G Rodeo. Sub-contractors: Western Rodeos, Silver Creek Rodeo, J Bar J, 4L & Diamond S Rodeo, Frontier Rodeo, Pro Rodeos, Lancaster & Jones Pro Rodeo, Universal Pro Rodeos, Pickett Rodeo, Four Star Rodeo, JS Rodeo, United Pro Rodeo, Andrews Rodeo, Dakota Rodeo and Big Rafter Rodeo. Rodeo secretary: Eva Chadwick. Officials: Allan Jordan Jr, Glenn Sullivan, Joe Bob Locke and Mike Jones. Timers: Jolee Jordan and Kathi Myers. Announcers: Doug Mathis and Bob Tallman. Bullfighters: Dusty Tuckness, Nathan Harp and Evan Allard. Clown/barrelman: Wild Child Lerwill. Flankmen: Matt Williams, Jim Gay and Heath Stewart. Pickup men: Josh Edwards and Will O’Connell. Photographer: James Phifer. Music director: Benje Bendele.

–PRCA


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