CTEC title is Taylor-made; McLeod battles through Jr. Ironman to claim crown, $11,750
Written by: Ted Harbin< Back to Articles
Santos holds off Tierney to become 16th man to win CINCH Timed Event crown
March 15, 2020 / Guthrie, Oklahoma – Taylor Santos’ youth was spent in roping pens and rodeo arenas.
When he wasn’t practicing or competing, he was watching it on TV. The family’s pile of video cassettes included years of the CINCH Timed Event Championship, and those images helped fill the young cowboy’s thoughts of being one of the greatest ever.
Fast forward to Sunday, when his dreams were realized. He roped, tied and wrestled 25 animals in a cumulative time of 340.4 seconds over just three days to win $103,000 and become just the 16th person in the 36-year history of the CTEC to claim the elusive title.
“This is a long three days, but it’s so worth it,” said Santos, 25, of Creston, California. “It was a blast.”
Yes, it was. Of course, when one pockets that kind of cash, it’s bound to be more exciting. But there was more to it. The weekend’s festivities featured one of the tightest championships in recent history. Only 30.2 seconds separated first through fifth place, and Santos edged the runner-up – 2017 champion Jess Tierney – by just 7.3 seconds.
“Things can go great or they can go the other way, but this weekend went really good,” said Tierney, the rodeo coach at Western Oklahoma State College, who pocketed $29,000. “I’d say that money will fit just right.
“I feel like I overcame some things, but I had great help and some great support. There are some things I’d change, but there are some things I wouldn’t change. In anything you do, you can win something or you can learn something, and I think I got to do both this weekend.”
This was just an extension of recent first for Santos. In 2019, he qualified for the National Finals Rodeo for the first time in his young career. He finished 10th in the tie-down roping world standings and earned $81,076 in Las Vegas this past December. All the while, he also gained a boatload of confidence, and that carried over into this weekend.
Still, he had to overcome some early jitters.
“After getting that first steer under my belt, I felt a lot better about things,” Santos said, referring to Friday afternoon’s first run of the opening round. “You don’t have time to overthink things too much. It’s definitely a battle and definitely a marathon.”
This endurance-test included his older brother, Lane Karney, who just completed his fourth CTEC. In his first trip to the Lazy E Arena in 2017, Karney enlisted in Santos’ help. That, too, paid off for the younger sibling, albeit three years later.
“Lane and I are two years, two weeks apart in age,” Santos said. “Every day of our lives, we were basically matching each other.
“I’ve been on the waiting list the last couple of years. I’m glad I’ve seen it on TV and on the tapes so many times, but that first year I came with Lane, I realized that it’s completely different than what it looked like on the big screen. I got a whole new vision and idea of what the event was. I learned a lot that year.”
And it paid off in his first time competing at the “Ironman of ProRodeo.” It’s not often that newcomers walk away with the biggest check at this unique event, but this marks the second straight year that a CTEC rookie earned the crown – a year ago, Georgia cowboy Justin Thigpen won the title, then he missed this year after suffering an injury just two weeks ago.
“Taylor is a great kid with an amazing talent,” Tierney said. “Everybody here was such a great talent, and that made for fun watching.”
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.
McLeod battles through Jr. Ironman to claim crown, $11,750
March 15, 2020 / Guthrie, Oklahoma – Long ago, Tee McLeod knew he was representing his home country of Canada, his home province of Saskatchewan.
On Sunday morning, he earned the first international title in the young history of the Jr. Ironman at the Lazy E Arena. He was somewhat dominant over the three days of rugged competition, though it got a bit hairy at the end.
“This is a dream come true,” said McLeod, 20, of Waldeck, Saskatchewan. “I prepared every day for two months. I did all the events every day and went to the gym.
“This place is awesome. Everybody does a great job putting this on, and I’m just fortunate enough to be here.”
He won the first two rounds, then finished second in Sunday’s final round. By winning the title and earning top pay in the rounds, he pocketed $11,750. Quade Hiatt, a two-time competitor from Canyon, Texas, finished second in the overall average, just three-tenths of a second behind the Canadian. For that, Hiatt earned $5,000. He also won the third round worth $750, and his calf horse, Hercules, was named the WCRA’s Top Horse of the Jr. Ironman, valued at another $250.
Hiatt made a run for the title, though. His 4.7-second steer wrestling run to close out the competition on Sunday put the pressure on McLeod, who needed to be 7.2 seconds or faster to claim the top prize; McLeod stopped the clock in 7.0.
“I’ve never been to anything like this,” he said “I had a good friend come and help me out, saddle my horses and get them warmed up. He talked me through it the whole way. (Helper) Paden Bray was huge, too.
“That money is not like the big guys,” he said, referring to the $100,000 paid out to the winner of the CINCH Timed Event Championship, “but that’s life-changing money to me. I’m going to take it back to college, and it’s going to help out a bunch.”
While the exchange rate might mean that he keeps the cash close to his vest at Eastern New Mexico State University instead of sending it home, he’s still awfully proud to carry on a strong Canadian legacy in rodeo.
“I have a lot of family and friends that were supposed to come down here,” McLeod said. “With the coronavirus, they didn’t want to come down here, but they got to watch it on TV. Representing Canada is awesome. I’ve done it my whole career, going to the high school nationals, but this is huge.”
Jr. Ironman first round: 1. Tee McLeod, 39.3 seconds, $750; 2. Tyler West, 44.1, $250; 3. Sam Morgan, 47.8.
Jr. Ironman second round: 1. Tee McLeod, 36.1 seconds, $750; 2. Tyler West, 39.5, $250; 3. Quade Hiatt, 40.3.
Jr. Ironman third round: 1. Quade Hiatt, 33.0 seconds, $750; 2. Tee McLeod, 46.5, $250; 3. Denton Good, 53.2.
Jr. Ironman average: 1. Tee McLeod, 121.9 seconds on 12 runs, $10,000; 2. Quade Hiatt, 122.2, $5,000; 3. Tyler West, 151.5, $2,000.