GUTHRIE, OK – The biggest attribute for cowboys competing in multiple events is being consistent through the contest.
Myles Neighbors was the most consistent through his three days at the Jr. Ironman Championship, which led to his title and the first-place check worth $10,000. He roped, wrestled and tied 12 animals in 167.8 seconds to claim the title.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Neighbors, 19, of Benton, Ark., repeating the adage passed on by longtime contestants of the Cinch Timed Event Championship. “You’ve got to keep knocking them down. Even if you break a barrier, you just don’t take a 60. If you don’t take a 60, you’ll be the champ.”
In this unique competition – where the 10 cowboys compete in heading, heeling, tie-down roping and steer wrestling in each round – a 60-second run is equivalent to a no-time at a traditional rodeo. The Arkansas cowboy was the only man in the field who didn’t suffer that penalty. In fact, his longest run came Sunday morning’s final round, when he stopped the clock in 31.1 seconds in heeling.
“I think the key was my horsepower and consistency,” he said. “You’ve got to have horsepower here. You’ve got to score them, you’ve got to run them down, and you’ve got to be consistent. You’ve got to catch everything.”
He also needed things to go his way. Heading into the final event of the weekend, Neighbors was in second place and trailed leader Wyatt Hansen of Oakdale, Calif., by 30.4 seconds. But Hansen struggled in steer wrestling and suffered his first 60 of the weekend.
That pushed Neighbors to the top spot when it counted most. Hansen fell to second place, while the reigning champion, Bo Yaussi of Udall, Kan., finished third.
A year ago, Neighbors won the opening round but fell off the pace through the end. He took the lessons gained 12 months ago into account while chasing the championship.
“I found out I needed to start reading my cattle a lot better, knowing what my cattle are supposed to do,” said Neighbors, who is attending Northeast Texas Community College on a rodeo scholarship. “This is easily the biggest thing I’ve ever won. This is an opportunity we don’t have very often. This is a one-of-a-kind deal for us. We don’t get to run at $10,000 every day.”
In all, he pocketed $11,000, adding the $1,000 prize for winning Saturday’s second round. Yaussi won the first round, while Ryder Ladner of Kiln, Miss., posted the fastest round of the weekend, 36.6 seconds, to win Sunday.
The 2018 Cinch Timed Event Championship partners include Cinch Jeans and Shirts, Priefert Farm, Ranch & Rodeo, Yeti Coolers, Montana Silversmiths, ABI Equine, RAM, RIDE TV, Carroll Original Wear, Big Tex Trailers, P&K Equipment, Cavender’s, Nutrena, The Team Roping Journal, MacroAir, Bio S.I., National Saddlery, Cross Bar Gallery, John Vance Auto Group, Pendleton Whisky, CSI Saddle Pads, Formula 1 Noni, Guthrie CVB, Made In Oklahoma Coalition, J.W. Brooks Hat Co., Hilton Garden Inn - Edmond, America’s Best Value Inn - Guthrie, Sherwin-Williams, Anderson Bean Boot Co., Chris Neal’s Future Stars and Rising Stars Calf Ropings, and the National Little Britches Rodeo Association. The Jr. Ironman Championship is a Lazy E Production.
Jr. Ironman Results
First round: 1. Bo Yaussi, 42.3 seconds, $1,000. Second round: 1. Myles Neighbors, 42.3 seconds, $1,000. Third round: 1. Ryder Ladner, 36.6 seconds, $1,000.
Average: 1. Myles Neighbors, 167.8 seconds, $10,000; 2. Wyatt Hansen, 193.2, $5,000; 3. Bo Yaussi, 197.1, $2,000.