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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: 'Cowboys are risk takers': Timed Event Championship in Guthrie won't cow down to coronavirus threat

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GUTHRIE — Trell Etbauer of Goodwell leapt from the saddle, grabbed the steer by the horns and threw the animal to the ground with such force that the Lazy E Arena announcer joked it must have “knocked the coronavirus right out of ‘em.”

On Friday, with the most of the sports world shut down because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Timed Event Championship at the Lazy E Arena was about the only game in town.

“Cowboys are risk takers. That is the heart of us. That’s the way we live our lives,” said longtime rodeo announcer Justin McKee of Lenapah. “We don’t understand running scared.”

An estimated crowd of about 1,200 on Friday afternoon watched as 20 cowboys competed in the five timed events: Heading, heeling, tie-down roping, steer roping and steer wrestling. Lazy E officials said attendance was about normal for Friday’s first session and expect a sell-out crowd of 4,200 on Saturday night.

Bravado might be a cowboy trait, but the decision to continue to go ahead with the 36th consecutive Timed Event Championship was not made without careful consideration, said Dan Wall, vice president and general manager of the Lazy E Arena and Ranch.

“In my opinion, we didn’t stick our head in the sand,” Wall said. “We are not avoiding the issue at all. We are just going forward in an educated, forthright manor with every possible safety precaution in place.”

The Lazy E management team consulted with state and federal officials as well as health specialists before deciding to go forward with the event, Wall said. The Lazy E Arena had not hosted an event in three weeks and since then it was disinfected three different times, including receiving a power wash with a 10 percent bleach solution, he said.

Disinfectant soap and hand sanitizers have been liberally placed around the building, and handrails and touch points are being wiped down diligently, Wall said.

“We were going forward with the event because we felt like we weren’t putting the cowboys at any risk at all,” he said. “We could have had the event with just the cowboys and no fans, but our decision was to leave that up to the fans… The spectators overwhelmingly wanted the event to go on.”

So did the cowboys. With big rodeos in Houston and Austin already canceled, the contestants in the Timed Event Championship are grateful for the opportunity to earn a paycheck. They don’t know how many opportunities they will get in the near future.

“We appreciate these guys taking a chance and having the event for us, because for most of us, this is what we do for a living,” said Cody Doescher of Webbers Falls, an annual competitor in the Timed Event Championship. “If there is nothing for us to go to, it’s hard for us to make money.”

Doescher is disappointed the rodeos in Houston and Austin were canceled.

“That is two of our biggest rodeos of the year,” he said. “I have always had some luck in both of them, and it’s kind of messed everything up. Now I don’t hardly have anywhere to go besides one rodeo for the next three weeks to make any money. It makes it a little difficult on us. It affects us just like it affects everybody else.”

Clayton Hass of Weatherford, Texas, said rodeo cowboys don’t have big contracts like other professional athletes.

“We got to win to be able to get paid,” he said. “They go and shut a lot of these rodeos down ... what are we going to do to make our living and pay our bills? I called my dad and said if they keep canceling these rodeos I am going to have to come back to the ranch and do some day work.”

The prevailing sentiment at the Lazy E Arena on Friday was that rodeos were being canceled out of fear and paranoia.

“I think people get pretty paranoid about it,” said Broken Bow native Clay Smith, the two-time defending Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion in heading. “You can die in a car wreck on the way up here.”

The rodeo cancellations in Houston and Austin did free up Smith’s week, however.

“I don’t like it that it’s happening, but at the same time I am going to get to spend a little more time with my family,” he said. “I am going to be home a little more.”

***

Timed Event Championship

Where: Lazy E Arena, Guthrie

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

Related Photos
<strong>Contestants line up before the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie on Friday, one of the few events not canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</strong>

Contestants line up before the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie on Friday, one of the few events not canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-df34821713f373a1b4c41aed84397f87.jpg" alt="Photo - Contestants line up before the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie on Friday, one of the few events not canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title=" Contestants line up before the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie on Friday, one of the few events not canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Contestants line up before the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie on Friday, one of the few events not canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6c5e22ff0bf0b07fdaf31c8082d4d27b.jpg" alt="Photo - Clayton Hass of Weatherford, Texas, competes in the heading event Friday during the Timed Event Championship. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title=" Clayton Hass of Weatherford, Texas, competes in the heading event Friday during the Timed Event Championship. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Clayton Hass of Weatherford, Texas, competes in the heading event Friday during the Timed Event Championship. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-5d62ae784270d1a7ea0487cbc3714533.jpg" alt="Photo - Cody Doescher of Webbers Falls ropes a calf during the heading competition of the Timed Event Championship Friday at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie. [BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Cody Doescher of Webbers Falls ropes a calf during the heading competition of the Timed Event Championship Friday at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie. [BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Cody Doescher of Webbers Falls ropes a calf during the heading competition of the Timed Event Championship Friday at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie. [BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7980382f9be763f01e04585001740ddd.jpg" alt="Photo - Contestants line up before the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Contestants line up before the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Contestants line up before the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-af44f98b5e5e8f1cf629522d049bb7a4.jpg" alt="Photo - #4" title="#4"><figcaption>#4</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3183cce61377f367474153ff19aba573.jpg" alt="Photo - Clay Smith of Broken Bow, Okla., competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Thursday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Clay Smith of Broken Bow, Okla., competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Thursday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Clay Smith of Broken Bow, Okla., competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Thursday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4a8cf0a01e6c0388155390e0506f11d5.jpg" alt="Photo - Paul D. Tierney of Oklahoma City competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Thursday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Paul D. Tierney of Oklahoma City competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Thursday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Paul D. Tierney of Oklahoma City competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Thursday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-58cbcac63def4276f463aa6ccde48e13.jpg" alt="Photo - Jess Tierney of Hermosa, South Dakota, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Jess Tierney of Hermosa, South Dakota, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Jess Tierney of Hermosa, South Dakota, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d9704f8e4d2e6eede431f6feb87f5f14.jpg" alt="Photo - Kyle Lockett of Visalia, California, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Kyle Lockett of Visalia, California, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Kyle Lockett of Visalia, California, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6c54c8bafc4216549a5cd4b862a476eb.jpg" alt="Photo - Clayton Hass of Weatherford, Texas, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Clayton Hass of Weatherford, Texas, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Clayton Hass of Weatherford, Texas, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-17a7add56a2da799713667c5a1b74713.jpg" alt="Photo - Lane S Karney of Creston, California, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Lane S Karney of Creston, California, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Lane S Karney of Creston, California, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6da3a906d75c2a6a43bfa52c32f26312.jpg" alt="Photo - Paul D. Tierney of Oklahoma City competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Paul D. Tierney of Oklahoma City competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Paul D. Tierney of Oklahoma City competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-efc71c67dc4a2f55ea1b8607d7203edd.jpg" alt="Photo - Jace Melvin of Ft. Pierre, South Dakota, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Jace Melvin of Ft. Pierre, South Dakota, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Jace Melvin of Ft. Pierre, South Dakota, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6d6f0c0ee58391c7d944622867d77723.jpg" alt="Photo - Jordan Ketscher of Squaw Valley, California, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Jordan Ketscher of Squaw Valley, California, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Jordan Ketscher of Squaw Valley, California, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-18bd9aa8bb5895c16ae34b5deadc936c.jpg" alt="Photo - Marcus Theriot of Poplarville, Mississippi, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Marcus Theriot of Poplarville, Mississippi, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Marcus Theriot of Poplarville, Mississippi, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-51aabf77e9b604863ef528babc9047d7.jpg" alt="Photo - Coby Doescher of Webbers Falls, Okla., competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Coby Doescher of Webbers Falls, Okla., competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Coby Doescher of Webbers Falls, Okla., competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-48bb60ff9d88a5d28dedacbb3d2180cf.jpg" alt="Photo - Clayton Hass of Weatherford, Texas, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Clayton Hass of Weatherford, Texas, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Clayton Hass of Weatherford, Texas, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1ca3b42925d457885bf55fe24be48796.jpg" alt="Photo - Haven Meged of Miles City, Montana, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Haven Meged of Miles City, Montana, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Haven Meged of Miles City, Montana, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-88adfa0e046efdf6705d7ca5ab0809fd.jpg" alt="Photo - Contestants line up before the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Contestants line up before the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Contestants line up before the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3f34dcef304bad54dcc8cb8193de8910.jpg" alt="Photo - Roger Nonella of Klamath Falls, Oregon, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="Roger Nonella of Klamath Falls, Oregon, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Roger Nonella of Klamath Falls, Oregon, competes in the heading event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7c813603a07674a878c1886502fc4203.jpg" alt="Photo - KC Jones of Burlington, Wyoming, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]" title="KC Jones of Burlington, Wyoming, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>KC Jones of Burlington, Wyoming, competes in the tie-down roping event during the Timed Event Championship inside the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., Friday, March 13, 2020. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure>
Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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