Colorado pair ropes winners’ checks at RNCFR
There was a star-studded team roping field at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo April 10-12 at the historic Lazy E Arena.
Flying below the radar was the team of header Ty Blasingame and heeler J.W. Borrego.
By Saturday night, the Southern Colorado duo had no equals.
Blasingame and Borrego clocked a 3.9-second time in the finals to win the national championship at the $530,503 RNCFR.
“A guy has to rope his steers as fast as he can and let the cards fall where they will, and it worked out awesome,” said Blasingame, who qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2010. “This is the biggest (rodeo) highlight I’ve ever had. I made the NFR, but this win right here means more to me than anything.”
Borrego concurred with his partner.
“This is just awesome,” Borrego said. “I’ve been visualizing this for a long time and it happened; it is very good.”
In addition to the $14,123 that Blasingame and Borrego pocketed for their weekend’s labors, they also each received a $20,000 voucher toward a Ram vehicle, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, boots and a saddle.
In the sudden-death semifinals competition, the only other team to register a time was Nick Sartain and Reagan Ward, at 4.4 seconds.
“This just feels awesome,” Blasingame said. “I’m so grateful to get to win this championship with (J.W.). We’ve roped on and off for a long time, so to be able to come here and do this is just great.”
Blasingame and Borrego were competing for the Mountain States Circuit at the RNCFR. They qualified by winning the average at the Ram Mountain States Circuit Finals Rodeo last October in Rock Springs, Wyo.
At the RNCFR, all 24 contestants in each event competed in the two preliminary rounds. The top eight in each event after the first two rounds advanced to the semifinals, where all previous scores and times were discarded.
Blasingame and Borrego easily were in the top eight, as their 10.2-second time on two head left them second in the average behind Paul David Tierney and Jared Bilby of the Badlands Circuit.
The duo maintained its consistency in the semis, tying Sartain and Ward for third place in 4.6 seconds. The top four finishers in the semis moved on to the finals.
“I knew if we could just get back to the top four, we would be in good shape,” Borrego said. “(Ty) is so fast, and he makes my job easy. I just wanted to make it back to the top four, because I knew it would be easier to beat three other teams instead of 23. Once we got in the finals, we just wanted to take care of business. You just have to keep yourself calm and not get excited and focus on what you have to do. I’m just very happy and thankful.”
Borrego is hopeful the RNCFR championship is a springboard for him and Blasingame.
“I’ve been wanting to do this with this guy (Ty) for a long time and this is just a stepping stone for us,” Borrego said.
Blasingame said he and Borrego have formulated a game plan.
“We’re going to rodeo a little bit after Reno (Nev., in late June) and see how it goes,” Blasingame said. “My daughter (Kashlyn, 5 years old) is starting school next year so I’m trying to get a place built. Next year, 2015, I tell you what … we are going to try to go full time.”
Blasingame and his wife, Mindy, also have a younger daughter, Kodie, who is 15 months old. The family lives in Sugar City, Colo.
The other national champions at the RNCFR were bareback rider Caleb Bennett (84 points), steer wrestler Kyle Irwin (3.3 seconds), saddle bronc rider Jacobs Crawley (83 points), tie-down roper Josh Peek (7.7 seconds), bull rider Parker Breding (88 points) and barrel racer Gretchen Benbenek, (17.13 seconds).
Three of the final-round showdowns ended in ties and were decided on the basis of who had the highest score/fastest time in the semifinal round. Bennett won the tiebreaker over Bobby Mote and Joe Gunderson that way, and the edge went to Peek over Jerome Schneeberger in the tie-down roping and to Crawley over Cody Wright in the saddle bronc riding.
The winners of the 2014 RNCFR Top Stock Awards were announced after the event ended on April 12. The top bareback horse was Powder River Rodeo’s Craig at Midnight, while saddle bronc honors were split between Korkow Rodeo’s Paint Chip and Lancaster & Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Total Equine Angel Fire. The top bull award went to D&H Cattle’s Mr. Show Biz. F