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Guthrie rodeo cowboy battles the clock

— Clocks spring forward early Sunday as Daylight Saving Time begins.

That's one hour.

Trell Etbauer’s paychecks in rodeo are based on seconds.

Coincidentally this weekend, while many are talking about the time change, Etbauer, who was raised in the Oklahoma Panhandle at Goodwell, is competing at the 30th anniversary of the Timed Event Championship of the World.

The field of 20 contestants compete in the team roping heading, heeling, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and steer roping for five rounds. The cowboy with the lowest time total time after 25 runs is the winner.

“At rodeos, they try to go as fast as they can, it’s a one run, maybe two, maybe three and done, but here it is 25 runs” said the Lazy E Arena’s Director of Events Robert Simpson. “It’s two different mindsets. Here you have to pace yourself; you’re not necessarily going 100 miles per hour every time.”

A year ago, Etbauer had a strong showing in his first appearance at the timed event championship. He finished seventh with a total time of 364.8 seconds on 25 runs and earned $4,500. Daniel Green of Oakdale, Calif., won his third timed event championship title. He totaled 313.6 seconds. And Green added money for one of the fastest rounds of the weekend. His checks totaled $52,000.

“I enjoy competing in all five events,” Etbauer said. “I believe it is one of the most prestigious events you can win.

“I’ve been looking forward to competing here since I was a kid. The timed event is a marathon and I learned last year to take good throws and not get in a hurry because the average keeps changing throughout each event and each performance.”

The 29-year-old Etbauer is known in rodeo for his versatility.

In 2013, he won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's Linderman Award for the fourth time. To qualify, a cowboy must win at least $1,000 in each of three events, and those events must include at least one roughstock event – bareback, saddle bronc or bull riding — and one timed event – steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping or steer roping.

Etbauer’s earnings in the 2013 season came in tie-down roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and team roping.

“When I was a kid going to Little Britches rodeos,” Etbauer said, “I worked as many events as I could and to this day, I still enjoy working multiple events. Bill Linderman was a great cowboy and one of my rodeo idols. He made the finals in both a timed event and a roughstock event, which was one of my goals growing up.

“The Linderman award is prestigious to me because in the old days lots of cowboys worked both ends of the arena. Now, there aren’t many guys who work both ends of the rodeo arena. It is something I take pride in and I appreciate those cowboys who do work both ends because I know how hard it is to qualify for the award.”

Etbauer was asked about his fastest runs in professional rodeo in the timed events. Last year, the 6-foot, 1-inch, 190-pound cowboy had a time of 3.1 seconds in the steer wrestling at Vernon, Texas, and a run of 7.8 seconds in the tie-down roping at Vernal, Utah.

“On both of these runs, I drew good cattle and got good starts. It all fell into place,” Etbauer said.

As for the saddle bronc riding, Etbauer was asked for an example of a good bronc where the 8-second ride seemed like it was longer than that.

One ride that came to mind was a matchup with a horse in Logandale, Nev., a few years ago. The horse was named Sherlock and “no one had made a qualified ride on him before.”

“It seemed like I was on him for 10 minutes waiting for the whistle to blow,” Etbauer said of the eight seconds. “When it blew, he bucked me off on my head. It was probably the hardest and longest 79-point ride of my career.

“When you draw a good horse and are making a good ride, you don’t want the whistle to blow.”

Etbauer comes from a family that knows about not just good rides, but great rides.

Trell’s father Robert was a two-time saddle bronc world champion, his uncle Billy won five saddle bronc world titles and his uncle Dan qualified 10 times for the National Finals Rodeo and also served as a pickup man during the NFR after retiring from riding broncs.

Trell Etbauer was the PRCA All-Around Rookie of the Year in 2008. He has earned more than $200,000 in his PRCA career.

He said when he was younger, he allowed himself to think about the clock and that added pressure. But his father helped him overcome that as the young cowboy practiced.

“Yes, when I was younger it played a part,” Trell said. “It has gotten easier with experience. My dad would put pressure on me in the practice pen and make up different scenarios and try and get into my head. I hated that at the time, but it has paid off in the long run because it taught me to block those things out and just focus on the task in front of me.”

When not competing, Trell is busy working with wife Kaylee at their ranch near the Texas Panhandle community of Gruver.

On the ranch there are not stop watches. The job ends when the task is complete — no matter how long that takes.

“I run yearling cattle, and farm wheat, corn and soybeans with my wife,” Etbauer said. “I enjoy being outside and on horseback. We work until the work is finished.

“I enjoy working and spending time with my family.”

What: 2014 Timed Event Championship of the World

When: Noon and 7:30 p.m., Saturday and 1 p.m., Sunday.

Where: Lazy E Arena near Guthrie.

For ticket information: Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets,, calling Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000 or by calling the Lazy E Arena directly at (800) 595-7433.

Bryan Painter

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