First time is a charm for Taylor Santos at Timed Event Championship
GUTHRIE — When you don't know when your next rodeo is going to be, the timing couldn't be better to win $100,000.
California cowboy Taylor Santos won the Timed Event Championship on Sunday at the Lazy E Arena and the top prize of $100,000.
"It's dang sure a game changer," Santos said. "My bank account sure likes it."
Santos, 25, of Creston, California, became the 16th cowboy in the 36-year history of the event to win the title. He bested the 19 other competitors in his first-ever appearance in the "Ironman of ProRodeo" event.
The victory also comes on the heels of Santos qualifying to the National Finals Rodeo last year in his rookie season. The tie-down roper won $81,000 at the NFR in December and added $103,000, which includes $3,000 for winning Saturday afternoon's third round, during the three-day Timed Event Championship.
"It's been unbelievable," Santos said.
Santos is a tie-down roper whose weakest event is steer roping. The Timed Event Championship on Sunday came down to the final steer in steer roping, the last event of the day.
Santos needed to rope the last steer in less than 28 seconds to stay ahead of Jess Tierney, the 2017 Timed Event champion and rodeo coach at Western State Junior College in Altus. Santos tied the steer in 20.7 seconds. His cumulative time over 25 head of cattle during the event was 340.4 seconds.
Santos said he practiced his steer roping (commonly called steer busting) for more than a month before the Timed Event Championship.
"I was running anywhere between five and seven busting steers a day, and we were tying a few every day," he said. "We really worked on it a lot more really than the other events just because I thought it was my weakest event."
It was the ninth time a California cowboy has won the Timed Event title, breaking a tie with Texas cowboys. Seven of those Texas championships belong to Trevor Brazile, who has won more than any other cowboy.
Winning $103,000 is especially sweet because Santos doesn't know when he will get back in the rodeo saddle. The Lazy E Arena and Ranch went ahead with the Timed Event Championship over the weekend but rodeos around the country are being canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak,
"I was entered at a few rodeos and I think they all got canceled," Santos said. "I was talking to some guys a couple of days ago and asking them where are we going to enter next? We don't really know when our next rodeo is going be, which is kind of weird for us.
"Everybody gets in the Pro Rodeo Journal and plans out our season and what rodeos to go to. So, we really don't know right now. It's kind of up in the air. Hopefully, everything gets resolved here pretty soon.
"But that kind of money is life-changing, even if they were going to have a rodeo tomorrow."
TIMED EVENT CHAMPIONSHIP
First round: 1. Jordan Ketscher, 65.3 seconds, $3,000; 2. Marcus Theriot, 65.8, $2,000; 3. Roger Nonella, 68.6, $1,000.
Second round: 1. Jess Tierney, 58.3 seconds, $3,000; 2. Haven Meged, 59.3, $2,000; 3. Clay Smith, 63.7, $1,000.
Third round: 1. Taylor Santos, 56.6 seconds, $3,000; 2. Marcus Theriot, 58.6, $2,000; 3. Seth Hall, 61.8, $1,000.
Fourth round: 1. Clay Smith, 53.4 seconds, $3,000; 2. Haven Meged, 65.2, $2,000; 3. Jess Tierney, 66.4, $1,000.
Fifth round: 1. Clay Smith, 45.8 seconds, $3,000; 2. Kyle Lockett, 51.2, $2,000; 3. Clayton Hass, 52.8, $1,000.
Average: 1. Taylor Santos, 340.4 seconds on 25 runs, $100,000; 2. Jess Tierney, 247.7, $25,000; 3. Seth Hall, 351.5, $15,000; 4. Clay Smith, 360.6, $10,000; 5. Marcus Theriot, 370.6, $7,500; 6. Haven Meged, 395.1, $5,000; 7. Paul David Tierney, 400.4, $4,500; 8. Jordan Ketscher, 445.7, $3,000.
Total money: 1. Taylor Santos, $103,000; 2. Jess Tierney, $29,000; 3. Clay Smith, $17,000; 4. Seth Hall, $16,000; 5. Marcus Theriot, $11,500; 6. Haven Meged, $9,000; 7. Jordan Ketscher, $6,000; 8. Paul David Tierney, $4,500; 9. Roger Nonella and Clayton Hass, $1,000 each.