Tim O’Connell in top form with semi final win in San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO – Tim O’Connell is back healthy – and dangerous.
The three-time PRCA Bareback Riding World Champion – 2016-18 – showed his championship form in winning the semifinal round at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Friday.
The Zwingle, Iowa, cowboy, had an 88.5-point ride on Pickett Pro Rodeo Company’s Shady Nights at AT&T Center.
“That was like the seventh or eighth time I have been on that horse and of all the times I have been on that horse that by far was the buckiest she has been,” O’Connell said. “She always has that big swoop right there to the left of the chute and it is really nice for me because she pulls me around the corner.
“I was going to go after the round no matter what. I knew I had probably the best horse in the pen, and I had been on her so many times. I was going to go after it, I did not want to go through that (Wildcard round). I wanted to go straight to the finals. I try to go for the round every time, but I was really going to let it hang out today.”
The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo concludes Saturday and will be broadcast live on The Cowboy Channel and streamed on the PRCA on Cowboy Channel Plus App at 8 p.m. (ET).
The finals will consist of 11 contestants – 5 from each of the semifinals and one
from the wild card. The Wildcard round is at 2 p.m. (ET), Saturday.
O’Connell acknowledged nothing came easy for him with Shady Nights.
“About halfway through she was really bringing it harder than I have ever felt it,” he said. “I had to start putting the brakes on there and I could feel more than likely we were at the middle of the out gate, and I was swinging and hitting, and I was having to slow it down and really plant my feet at the end of my stroke to keep her from bringing me over the top of my handle. I knew after I got off that we had just done something big.”
O’Connell, an eight-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, has yet to win the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo something he wants to change.
“I think I have been second here like three different times and I would love to check this off my bucket list,” O’Connell said. “I actually do feel healthy. It’s not an excuse, but I showed up to the (2021) NFR after having my tailbone taken out. It was 100 days to the first round of the NFR after I had a bone taken out of my body. It is not an excuse, but I just didn’t feel comfortable under my riggin at that point.
“Things just weren’t going my way. I didn’t feel like I was drawing the best and I was not riding the best. I wasn’t helping the horses out like I normally do, and the result was the result. Being hurt is not an excuse, but I just wasn’t physically ready I don’t believe. I felt healthy and I felt strong but when it comes to sitting on the back of a bucking horse with a raw bone on your butt things don’t feel completely right. I was having some shoulder issues as well and I think we finally have all this figured out where I feel like Tim O’Connell again.”
Friday was proof.
Other semifinal winners Friday were steer wrestler Will Lummus (3.9 seconds); team ropers Chad Masters/Cory Petska (4.4 seconds); saddle bronc riders Zeke Thurston (89.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Hired Gun) and Lefty Holman (89.5 points on Pete Car Pro Rodeo’s Dirty Jacket); tie-down roper Riley Pruitt (7.1 seconds); breakaway ropers Cheyanne Guillory (2.3 seconds) and Amber Crawford (2.3 seconds); barrel racer Cheyenne Wimberley (13.95 seconds) and bull rider Trevor Kastner (88 points on Andrews Rodeo’s LZ Full Throttle).
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